The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
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The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker : More Than a Tanker

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Description

Few would have imagined when "Dix" Loesch and "Tex" Johnston took the KC-135A up for its maiden flight on August 31, 1956 that some 60 years later, it would still be in front-line active service around the world. What began as a jet-powered replacement for the KC-97 to refuel Strategic Air Command's growing B-47 and B-52 bomber fleet soon evolved into America's first military heavy jet transport, an airborne command post platform capable of surviving and then commanding America's nuclear war plan, a testbed that enabled scientists to study the Earth, send men to the Moon and understand the power of the atom. Other variants of the KC-135 included a reconnaissance airframe that monitors arms agreements, gathers intelligence to understand the intentions and capabilities of potential enemies and provides real-time intelligence in combat - beginning with the war in Southeast Asia, and continuing to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Today, tanker versions of the KC-135 remain in service with Chile, France, Singapore, Turkey, and the United States, while reconnaissance variants operate with Great Britain and the United States. This is a fully revised and expanded edition of the original bestselling 'Aerofax' book and includes operational histories of the 80+ unique types, as well as individual details for all 820 airplanes by serial number including first flight, delivery, changes in configuration, attrition, and retirement. Appendices cover all units, a summary of each accident, display and stored aircraft, and record-setting achievements. The author is a former USAF pilot qualified on 17 types of KC-135s, EC-135s, and RC-135s, who bring both personal experience and a broad historical understanding to this definitive work on one the most significant military aircraft of the Cold War and beyond.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 216 x 290 x 19mm | 1,304g
  • Crecy Publishing
  • Cheshire, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised, Expanded ed.
  • Over 500 photos
  • 1910809012
  • 9781910809013
  • 28,787

Back cover copy

When "Dix" Loesch and "Tex" Johnston took the KC-135A up for its maiden flight on the 31st August 1956, few would have imagined that it would still be in active front-line service some 60 years later. What began as a jet-powered replacement for the lumbering KC-97 tanker soon evolved into America's first military heavy jet transport, an airborne command post capable of surviving and then commanding America's nuclear war plan and a testbed that enabled scientists to study the Earth and send men to the Moon. Other variants include reconnaissance and intelligence gathering airframes operated by Great Britain and the United States and of course the tanker versions of the KC-135, which remain in service with Chile, France, Singapore, Turkey, and the United States. The KC-135's success is based on its simplicity, a tanker with few frills. Designed to fly only 10,000 hours before retirement, after 60 years, high-time KC-135s have accrued 36,000 hours while RC-135s have passed 56,000 hours. Scheduled to fly for another 20 years before retiring in 2040, the KC-135 and its many variants are testimony to the efficiency of the basic airframe which was adapted for use as a transport, testbed, airborne command post, and reconnaissance platform. Indeed, the KC-135 has proved to be more than a tanker. Drawing on newly declassified materials, Hopkins presents the history of the tankers, transports, testbeds, airborne command posts and reconnaissance platforms. Combat operations in the Middle East, changes to crew composition and the glass cockpit, acquisition by Chile and Singapore, and ongoing efforts to preserve the aircraft for another two decades are also described to produce the most comprehensive account yet of this versatile and long-lived aircraft, making it a "must have" for any serious military student, aviation enthusiast, historian or modeler.show more