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KC-135 Stratotanker  
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): June 1957
Total Production: 732
Unitary Cost: USD$40 million
Also Known As: C-135 Stratolifter, C-135C Speckled Trout, C-135F, C-135FR, EC-135, EC-135C, EC-135E, KC-135A, KC-135E, KC-135Q, KC-135R, KC-135T, NC-135E Big Crow, NKC-135, NKC-135A, OC-135, RC-135, RC-135S Cobra Ball, RC-135U, RC-135V Rivet Joint, RC-135W, TC-135W and WC-135M
Origin: United States of America
Corporations: Boeing
Parent System: C-135
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): June 1957
Total Production: 732
Total Cost: USD$29 billion
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Description: The KC-135 Stratotanker is a tanker aircraft designed to provide refueling for US Air Force, US Navy and USMC aircraft, as well as aircraft from allied nations. The first KC-135 tanker was delivered to the Castle US Air Force Base, California, in June 1957 and the last one in 1965. The KC-135 has an aerial boom as primary fuel transfer method. A special shuttlecock-shaped drogue, attached to and trailing behind the flying boom, may be used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. In addition, the KC-135 can accommodate passengers and cargo (up to 83,000 pounds) in a deck above the refueling system.

As of 2006, the US Air Force's inventory includes 417 KC-135Rs and 112 KC-135Es. The number of E models would drop to 63 aircraft by fiscal year 2011. The future of KC-135 fleet remains uncertain due to a corrosion problem that would escalate into maintenance costs growth. The KC-X tanker replacement program envisages that the last Stratotanker should be retired from the fleet by 2040.

Boeing is offering its KC-767 tanker aircraft as replacement for aging KC-135 tankers, while Northrop-Grumman/EADS North America are offering the Airbus A330 MRTT. The deals are on hold pending law suit and further US Air Force and governmental studies. Both tankers will be evaluated by the USAF under the KC-X program. The C-135C Speckled Trout was a variant introduced in the mid 1970s as a VIP transport for the US Air Force chief of staff. This aircraft was retired in early February 2006.

KC-135 Stratotanker Specifications

Crew: 4
Number of Engines: 4
Passengers: 37
Height: 12.7 meter (42 foot)
Length: 42 meter (136 foot)
Wingspan: 39.9 meter (131 foot)
Ceiling: 15,250 meter (50,033 foot)
Max Range: 2,413 kilometer (1,303 nautical mile)
Top Speed at High Altitude: 237 mps (461 KTAS)
Max Takeoff Thrust: 105,200 pound (47,719 kilogram)
Max Takeoff Weight: 146 ton (322,509 pound)
Payload: 37,650 kilogram (83,003 pound)
CEP: Circular Error Probable
Meters (m)   Kilometers (km)   Nautic Miles (nm)   Inch (in)   Yard (yd)   Foot (ft)   Millimeter (mm)
Pound (lb)   Kilogram (kg)   kN (KiloNewton)   Ton (t)
Meters per Second (mps)   Kilometers per Hour (kph)   Knot (kt)   Miles per Hour (mph)
Liter (l)   Galon (gl)
Year (yr)   Minutes (min)   Second (sec)
Shaft-Horse-Power (shp)

KC-135 Stratotanker News

There are 44 news between
23 May 2003 and 17 Apr 2019
1  2  3  4  5  
Wednesday, April 17, 2019KC-135 LAIRCM G3 Countermeasure System Ready for Production and Deployment
Friday, July 13, 2018US Air Force KC-46 Tanker Passes Flight Testing and is Ready for Delivery
Tuesday, April 26, 2016US Air Force Deploys Two F-22 Raptors to Romania
Wednesday, October 14, 2015US Air Force First KC-46A Pegasus Deploys its Drogue, Hose and Boom Systems
Tuesday, May 27, 2014First RAF RC-135W Rivet Joint Takes to the Skies
Monday, November 25, 2013Boeing Tests Validate Performance of FAB-T Satellite Communications Program
Tuesday, November 12, 2013First Rivet Joint Aircraft Handed Over to Royal Air Force
Friday, August 23, 2013F-35C Completes First In-Flight Refuel with KC-135 Tanker
Thursday, May 24, 2012US Navy, Air Force Develop Engine Modification that May Save Billions
Wednesday, March 28, 2012Boeing Delivers Third KC-135E Aircraft to Chilean Air Force

Operators & Related Equipment

KC-135E (3) ex-USAF aircraft ordered in 2009
United Kingdom3
Three Rivet Joint aircraft as replacement for cancelled Nimrod MRA4 surveillance airplanes
United States of America545
Jul 2015414RC-135 (29)
Feb 2014414Active duty 167; Air National Guard 180; Air Force Reserve 67
Sep 2009415

Grand Total 5516
Propulsion Systems
Protection Systems
Sensor Systems
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