Aircraft Type Index

Military Aircraft Index



Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker Military Aircraft

The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refuelling tanker based on the original Boeing 707 commercial airliner prototype and entered service with the USAF in 1957 replacing the piston engined Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker as it's primary re-fuelling tanker aircraft . A total of 803 KC-135 Stratotankers were produced by Boeing between 1954 and 1965, many remain in service with the air-forces of the USA, France, Singapore and Turkey, the example pictured below was photographed in 2009 whilst based in the UK.

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker Military Aircraft


Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker Specifications:

  • Crew: pilot, co-pilot, fuel boom operator
  • Passenger Capacity: Upto 57
  • Payload: 83,000 lb (37,600 kg)
  • Length: 136 ft 3 in (41.53 m)
  • Wingspan: 130 ft 10 in (39.88 m)
  • Height: 41 ft 8 in (12.70 m)
  • Empty weight: 98,466 lb (44,663 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 322,500 lb (146,000 kg)
  • Engines: Four 21,634 lbf (96 kN) CFM International CFM56 turbofans
  • Maximum Fuel Load: 200,000 lb (90,719 kg) or 31,275 US gal (118 kL)
  • Maximum speed: 580 mph (933 km/h)
  • Range: 3,450 mi (5,550 km)
  • Service ceiling 50,000 ft (15,200 m)
Flying Boom

It is of note that the fuel boom is fitted with remote control "wings" operated or "flown" by an observer in the Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers under-fuselage bulge who controls the re-fuelling and line-up operation rather than the pilots, the task of flying the boom is highly skilled and a mistake could easily cause the loss of either or both aircraft, the job is so important it normally requires approximately $1,000,000 to train  train a flying boom operator to the standard required.

KC-135 Stratotanker
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

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