Tag: KC-135 Stratotanker

The KC-135Q Story, Part Three: Refueling ’Black’ Aircraft
Perhaps the most intriguing role for the KC-135Q was a repeated, but never verified, 1990 association with an unidentified and highly classified 'black' aircraft. The KC-135Q Story, Part Three. The intensity of the December 1972 LINEBACKER II aerial campaign meant that current Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) and targeting intelligence acquired...
The KC-135Q Story, Part Two: Refueling the Blackbird
The aerodynamic dissimilarity of the subsonic KC-135Q and its triple-sonic receiver dictated a precise rendezvous, and the actual air refueling was conducted at the limits of each airplane's operational envelope. The KC-135Q Story, Part Two. The major differences between the KC-135Q and other KC-135s were primarily related to the fuel...
The KC-135Q Story, Part One: Tweaking the Stratotanker to refuel a Mach 3+ Spy Plane
Why the series suffix 'Q' was selected is unknown. Using normal designation procedures, the KC-135Q should have been called the KC-135C as the MDS 'KC-135B' had already been allocated to the airborne command post then under development. The KC-135Q Story, Part One. On Jul. 4, 1956, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)...
That time a KC-135 Crew saved an F-16 Pilot from ejecting over ISIS Territory
After the F-16 disconnected a second time, the pilot went through his checklists and told the crew he had a fuel system emergency. Over 80 percent of his total fuel capability was trapped and unusable… A KC-135 Stratotanker crew from McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) saved an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot from...
LAIRCM pod for KC-135 achieves Milestone C and is now cleared for production
KC-135 aircrews can focus on their critical refueling, aeromedical evacuation and cargo missions while gaining the full survivability benefit the LAIRCM system provides. The Northrop Grumman Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) pod for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft has achieved Milestone C. This critical milestone, awarded by the Department of Defense Milestone Decision...
The Story of North Star, the KC-135 Stratotanker that Saved an F-4 Phantom over the Atlantic
The KC-135 Stratotanker North Star had its landing gear down and its engines at idling speed in an attempt to slow down enough to match the F-4 Phantom’s speed and perform a midair tow. Ron Craft, a KC-135 Stratotanker crew member who was stationed at Loring Air Force Base (AFB) from 1981...
Remembering Shell 77, the KC-135 tanker that crashed in Kyrgyzstan while it was departing for combat aerial refueling mission
Shell 77 crew encountered a condition they had not realistically experienced in training, which left them with an unrecognized hazardous situation that was difficult to overcome. On May 3, 2013, a KC-135R, call sign Shell 77, crashed in the foothills of mountains located six miles south of Chaldovar, Kyrgyz Republic. The...
The Palomares Broken Arrow Accident
The B-52’s incoming speed was too fast and caused the aircraft to collide with the KC-135’s fueling boom. Major Larry G. Messinger, one of the bomber co-pilots, recalled, “All of a sudden, all hell seemed to break loose.” The U.S. military uses the term “Broken Arrow” to refer to an accident that involves...
Boeing's KC-46A program completes receiver certification testing for B-52, F/A-18
Trials to refuel the F-15 will soon commence Boeing’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker has been cleared to refuel the B-52 bomber and F/A-18. Trials to refuel the F-15 will soon commence. While the additional receiver certifications aren’t needed for the company to make its first delivery of the tanker to the U.S. Air Force (USAF), a Boeing spokesperson says they are in...
USAF to receive first KC-46A Pegasus tanker in October
USAF Secretary Heather Wilson says the late certification by the Federal Aviation Administration was the direct cause for KC-46 latest delay Bloomberg has revealed that the delivery of the first KC-46 refueling tanker by Boeing to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) on Oct. 27 will not be happening. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson says the late certification by the Federal Aviation...