Aircrafts / Support Aircrafts / United States / KC-135


Number of Engines 4
Total Thrust (kg) 40 006
Length (m) 40.80
Height (m) 11.50
Wingspan (m) 39.20
Top Speed (km/h) 982
Ceiling (m) 15 152
Max. Takeoff Weight (kg) 145 125
Range (km) 18 012
Crew 5
Date Deployed 1965
Unit Cost ($) 53 000 000
Overview Background

The KC-135 Stratotanker's primary mission is to refuel long-range bombers. It also provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied aircraft.

Four turbojets, mounted under wings swept 35 degrees, power the KC-135. Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the tanker's flying boom, the KC-135's primary fuel transfer method. A special shuttlecock-shaped drogue, attached to and trailed behind the flying boom, is used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. An operator stationed in the rear of the plane controls the boom. A cargo deck above the refueling system holds passengers or cargo. Depending on fuel storage configuration, the KC-135 can carry up to 83,000 pounds (37,350 kilograms) of cargo.

The KC-135 tanker fleet made an invaluable contribution to the success of Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf, flying around-the-clock missions to maintain operability of allied warplanes. The KC-135s form the backbone of the Air Force tanker fleet, meeting the aerial refueling requirements of bomber, fighter, cargo and reconnaissance forces, as well as the needs of the Navy, Marines and allied nations.

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