da man
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How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 07, 2003 2:37 am

I was wondering what the average age of the KC-135A/E/Rs that are in the fleet.

da man
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LY744
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 07, 2003 2:50 am

No more KC-135A's in the fleet. They were all made between 1957 and 1965, assuming a constant production (and retirement) rate that would make the average age about 42 years.

LY744.
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 07, 2003 4:57 am

Isn't every single KC-135R a A with the CFM engines?

If so then the A model is still around.
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da man
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:17 am

Yep, the same goes for the -135Es, they are As with TF33s.
I just want to know the average age of the -135s in the fleet.
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jwenting
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:58 pm

Well, as said the average airframe life is about 40 years.
While the aircraft don't see as many cycles and flight hours as civilian versions the stress on the airframe is higher (more time at low altitude and buffeting from flying in close formation with aircraft being refueled) which probably means they age about as quickly.

They are old ladies indeed. And remember they weren't designed for a long life like the B-52 (which will if plans proceed be around for another 20-40 years in one form or another!), they're rapidly nearing the end of their airframe lifes.
Were that to happen without replacement the USAF would be reduced to acting only within unrefueled range from the US coast (except for the small number of KC-10s which are mainly tasked with supporting strategic missions and thus unavailable to tactical operations!).
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FACT
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:56 am

KC-135: 1st delivery April 1957 / last delivery January 1965

To give you some idea of how many of these are still serving:

FY 1955:
29 airframes - 6 still in service as tankers (E model)

FY 1956:
68 airframes - 22 s.i.s.a.t. (19 x E / 3 x R)

FY 1957:
118 airframes - 95 s.i.s.a.t. (55 x E / 40 x R)

FY 1958:
130 airframes - 109 s.i.s.a.t. (32 x E / 44 x R / 4 x R(RT) / 29 x T)

FY 1959:
81 airframes - 74 s.i.s.a.t. (20 x E / 38 x R / 16 x T)

FY 1960:
56 airframes - 46 s.i.s.a.t. (2 x E / 31 x R / 4 x R(RT) / 9 x T)

FY 1961:
65 airframes - 42 s.i.s.a.t. (6 x E / 35 x R / 1 x R(RT))

FY 1962:
89 airframes - 69 s.i.s.a.t. (1 x E / 68 x R)

FY 1963:
104 airframes - 79 s.i.s.a.t. (4 x D / 75 x R)

FY 1964:
13 airframes - 13 s.i.s.a.t (13 x R)

Totals:
D model : 4
E model : 141
R model : 347
T model : 54
R(RT) model : 9
----------------
All Types (tankers only) : 555

Please note these figures are based on my own research which was done about two years ago, so there may have been some changes since. Treat these as ballpark figures, not absolute totals.
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da man
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Tue Jul 08, 2003 5:22 am

What about the KC-135Qs for the SR-71?
da man
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LY744
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:28 am

With FACT's figures, the average age works out to 42.67 years.  Smile

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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Tue Jul 08, 2003 9:07 am

As the -Q models were re-engined with the CFM-56, they were re-designated -T models. FACT's census shows around 50 still in service. I never understood the difference between the -D and -E models, although I saw -D's all the time (I went to college about 20 miles from Forbes Field in Topeka, where the -Ds are based). Could somebody please clear this up?

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FACT
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:04 am

The four KC-135Ds (63-8058/61) were originally ordered and built as RC-135As, a photomapping & surveying version delivered to MATS in 1965/6, completed with no refuelling system. These were the last four airframes of the C-135 family delivered to the USAF.

They later became redundant from that role and were converted to tankers around 1980, being re-designated KC-135D as their systems were somewhat different from the otherwise equivalent KC-135E.

[info from an old Air International article, courtesy of Peter V.]

All four KC-135Ds are operated by the Kansas ANG as part of the 117th ARS.

The only shot we've got of a KC-135D so far:

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Photo © Alan Brown


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chdmcmanus
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:25 am

Were that to happen without replacement the USAF would be reduced to acting only within unrefueled range from the US coast (except for the small number of KC-10s which are mainly tasked with supporting strategic missions and thus unavailable to tactical operations!).

Your joking, right? Not only does the KC-10 fly tactical, it does it longer, more often, and more regularly than the b-team KC-135. In fact, the "few" KC-10's had a higher average deployment day count and mission offload for OIF than the much more numerous but much less capable KC-135.

The amazing thing is with the age of the KC-135 fleet they are replacing it with an aircraft of similar capabilities, and calling it a "super" tanker. The KC-10 can already out perform the brand new "super" KC-767 in a tanker AND airlift role, and it's 20 years old. But that's a different story all together.

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muddydawg
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Mon Jul 21, 2003 1:55 am

Chdmcmanus

The only thing you forgot was that the KC-135's almost have ten times the aircraft we have. 59/555.

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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Sat Jul 26, 2003 6:05 pm

So 555 KC-135s are currently in service? Just in the US or all over the world? How many are in service in the US?
 
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Sat Jul 26, 2003 8:24 pm

I belive that the French also got some KC-135's to support their nuclear bombers.

but that 555 number should be the ones in US service.
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LY744
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Sat Jul 26, 2003 8:36 pm

France and Singapore also have -135's, any others?


LY744.
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FACT
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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Sun Jul 27, 2003 4:58 am

France bought 12 C-135F models (KC-135A equivalent, but they didn't use the KC designation) new in the mid-1960's. One was later written-off in 1972 and the eleven survivors updated to C-135FR status with CFM56 engines.

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Photo © Peter Vercruijsse
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Photo © Philippe Noret


They also bought 4 secondhand ones from the USAF in 1996/7: the former 62-3497 (497 in French service), 62-3525 (525), 62-3555 (555), 62-3574 (574) and upgraded those to C-135FR status as well.

Singapore also bought 4 secondhand KC-135As at the same time: 59-1454 (752), 61-0325 (751), 63-8009 (750), and 63-8016 (753), and these were upgraded to KC-135R equivalent status, but with hose-and-drogue pods under the wingtips as well.

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Photo © Gary Watt


The third foreign operator of the KC-135 is Turkey, who also acquired secondhand KC-135As at the same time as the other two and also upgraded them to KC-135R equivalent before taking delivery. They got 7: 57-2609 (72609), 58-0110 (80110), 60-0325 (00325), 60-0326 (00326), 62-3539 (23539), 62-3563 (23563), and 62-3567 (23567).

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Photo © Steve Williams

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RE: How Old Are The KC-135s That Are In Service?

Sun Jul 27, 2003 8:42 am

France kept one of their -135s at PSAB during OSW. Usually in P&D config though they flew Boom also.

Singapore flies their 135s here often to work with their fighters at Luke and Cannon, and also during Red Flag. They fly during Cope Tiger also.



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