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Sku:   CK135RT

Model Name:   KC-135R. STRATOTANKER 

Manufacturer:   BOEING 

Price: Contact Us
History:
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refueling military aircraft. It and the Boeing 707 airliner were developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype. The KC-135 was the US Air Force's first jet powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratotanker. The Stratotanker was initially tasked to refuel strategic bombers, but was used extensively in the Vietnam War and later conflicts such as Desert Storm to extend the range and endurance of Air Force, Navy and Marine tactical fighters and bombers.

Serving with the United States Air Force since 1957, it is one of just six military fixed wing aircraft with over 50 years of continuous service with its original operator. Supplemented by the larger KC-10, complete replacement is still under study by the Air Force. Despite increased maintenance costs, studies conclude many of the aircraft could be flown until 2040, with ages reaching 80 years before reaching lifetime flying hour limits.

The KC-135 was initially purchased to support bombers of the Strategic Air Command, but by the late 1960s, in the Southeast Asia the KC-135 Stratotanker's ability as a force multiplier came to the fore. Midair refueling of F-105 and F-4 fighter-bombers as well as B-52 bombers brought far-flung bombing targets within reach, and allowed fighter missions to spend hours at the front, rather than just a few minutes, due to their limited fuel reserves. KC-135 crews refueled both Air Force and Navy / Marine Corps aircraft, though they would have to change to probe and drogue adapters depending upon the mission. Crews also helped to bring in damaged aircraft which could fly while being fed by fuel to a landing site. KC-135s continued their tactical support role in later conflicts such as Desert Storm and current aerial strategy.