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The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is the centerpiece of the U.S. Air Force's aerial refueling capability and has proven itself in this role for more than 60 years. It provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied nations, serves to transport cargo and troops, and is also capable of performing aeromedical evacuations.
Four turbofans power the KC-135 with a gross weight of up to 322,500 pounds. A cargo deck above the refueling facility can accommodate passengers and cargo. Depending on the fuel storage configuration, the KC-135 can carry up to 83,000 pounds of cargo.
Almost all of the internal fuel can be pumped through the flying boom, the KC-135's primary fuel transfer method. A crew member, known as the boom operator, is stationed in the rear of the aircraft and controls the boom during in-flight aerial refueling. A hose adapter (boom drogue adapter) can be attached to the rigid boom for refueling aircraft equipped with probes. Some aircraft have been configured with the multipoint refueling system, which consists of special pods mounted on the wingtips. These KC-135s can refuel two receiver aircraft simultaneously.
Boeing's 367-80 model was the basic design for the 707 commercial passenger aircraft as well as the KC-135A Stratotanker. Of the U.S. Air Force#s original 732 KC-135As, more than 417 were modified with new CFM-56 engines from CFM-International. The converted tanker, designated either KC-135R or KC-135T, can offload 50 percent more fuel, is 25 percent more fuel efficient, costs 25 percent less to operate and is 96 percent quieter than the KC-135A.
The KC-135R and KC-135T aircraft will continue to be upgraded throughout their life cycle to expand their capabilities and improve their reliability. These include improved communications, navigation, autopilot and surveillance equipment,.
|up to 146.285 kilogram