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117ARW KC135-R Specifications

Six KC-135R Stratotankers sit in a heavy fog on the flight line at the 117th Air Refuelling Wing, Birmingham, Alabama. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Master Sgt. Ken Johnson/Released)

Six KC-135R Stratotankers sit in a heavy fog on the flight line at the 117th Air Refuelling Wing, Birmingham, Alabama. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Master Sgt. Ken Johnson/Released)

The KC-135R Stratotanker is the primary aircraft used for high speed aerial refueling to provide U.S. Air Force aircraft with extended range and mobility. Although similar in appearance to the Boeing 707, it's a common mistake to refer to the KC-135 as a military version of the 707. In fact, the first KC-135 flew in August 1956, nearly 18 months before the first Boeing 707 flight. The first KC-135 was delivered to Castle AFB, California, in April, 1957. The KC-135's primary mission is refueling long-range strategic bombers. But the Stratotanker supports every U.S. Air Force major air command that flies air-refuelable aircraft, the U.S. Navy, and our allies. To be compatible with the variety of aircraft it must refuel, the KC-135 has two fuel delivery modes. A flying boom is used to refuel bomber, fighter, reconnaissance and cargo aircraft, while a special drogue adapter is fitted to the boom for refueling probe fitted aircraft. The KC-135 can fly at near sonic speed and at altitudes of over 50,000 feet. These characteristics allow aircraft to be refueled without slowing down or descending where jet engines burn fuel more rapidly. The Air Force has modified a portion of its KC-135 fleet with more powerful and efficient high bypass turbofan engines. Designated the KC-135R, these planes have increased tanker offload capacity by 50 percent while improving fuel efficiency by 27 percent. In addition, the new engines and updated aircraft systems significantly reduce noise, pollution and maintenance costs.

TAKEOFF WEIGHT...............322,500 LBS
SPEED....................................600 MPH
ENGINES (4)..........................F108-CF-100

THRUST PER ENGINE..........21,634 LBS

RANGE...................................8000 MILES

UNIT FLYAWAY COST..........$40.1 MILLION

DIMENSIONS 
   SPAN......................................130' 10"
   SWEEPBACK........................35 DEGREES
   LENGTH................................136' 3"
   HEIGHT..................................41' 8" 
   
FUEL SYSTEM
   MAIN TANKS.........................62,738 LBS
   AUXILIARY TANKS..............126,419 LBS
   TOTAL (APPROX)................203,288 LBS APPROX.
   QUANTITY............................31,275 GAL

CREW
   (AIRCRAFT COMMANDER, PILOT, BOOM OPERATOR)
   PASSENGER SEATING CAPACITY NORMAL..............57
   CONTINGENCY.................................................................250+