User avatar
haynflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:36 pm

Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:37 pm

Anyone know why the letter "K" is used to designate a tanker? Most other letters seem to make sense but why "K"?


A Attack
B Bomber
C Cargo/transport
D Drone control
E Special electronics
F Fighter
K Tanker
H Helicopter
L Cold weather operations
M Missile capability
O Observation
P Patrol
R Reconnaissance
S Antisubmarine
T Trainer
U Utility
V Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL)/short takeoff and landing (STOL)
X Research
V Staff transport
W Weather reconnaissance
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln
 
rfields5421
Posts: 5547
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:57 pm

T was already taken ?
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2104
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:16 pm

Presumably because T for Trainer was already long in use, and because K was one of the few letters available. K as a mission designator (first letter left of the dash) was also initially reserved for tankers but:

"No designations were ever assigned in the K-series (all tankers were derivatives of other aircraft), which is presumably the reason why the "K" basic mission symbol was dropped."

but it obviously remains in use as a modified mission designator or the prefix letter.

http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/aircraft.html

[Edited 2011-11-20 13:18:12]
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
User avatar
JBo
Posts: 1610
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 7:23 am

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:24 am

Plus there is a 'K' in "TanKer" so at least it's a letter from the word it stands for and not a completely random assignment.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
User avatar
Moose135
Posts: 2555
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:27 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:01 am

K because it's a Kool jet!  
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
flood
Posts: 1045
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:05 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:46 am

Maybe they took the K from Kerosene.
 
nomadd22
Posts: 1566
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:42 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:32 pm

Because tankermen are invariably Kranky ol Koots?
Anon
 
User avatar
ptrjong
Posts: 4088
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:38 am

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:31 pm

Quoting flood (Reply 6):
Maybe they took the K from Kerosene.

My thought as well.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
TGIF
Posts: 262
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:01 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:39 am

Y should perhaps be added to the list (e.g. YF-22).
B.t.w, what's the difference between Y and X?

Quoting haynflyer (Thread starter):
K Tanker
Quoting haynflyer (Thread starter):
C Cargo/transport

Putting two of the letters to gether, you show that the A/C have multiple capabilities, right? e.g. the KC-135 can both be used as a transporter and a tanker?

Quoting haynflyer (Thread starter):
R Reconnaissance
S Antisubmarine

Then what's the deal with the SR-71?
I'm guessing the 'S' isn't for Anti submarine here, but rather Surveillance. Could there be several uses of the letter 'S'?
 
rwessel
Posts: 2448
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:31 am

Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Y should perhaps be added to the list (e.g. YF-22).
B.t.w, what's the difference between Y and X?

X should be experimental, Y should be prototype. Both are misused with distressing frequency. The XF-35 and XF-36 should have been Y's, the X-26A (basically a stock Schweizer SGS 2-32) has been named the most inappropriate use of "X" ever. The designations often have a political purpose as well (F/A-18).

Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Putting two of the letters to gether, you show that the A/C have multiple capabilities, right? e.g. the KC-135 can both be used as a transporter and a tanker?

That can be, or two letters can indicate a status (X or Y for example are a status, not a mission).

Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Then what's the deal with the SR-71?
I'm guessing the 'S' isn't for Anti submarine here, but rather Surveillance. Could there be several uses of the letter 'S'?

It was supposed to be "RS-12" (reconnaissance/strike), with consider given to renaming it RS-71 (to follow the proposed RS-70 version of the XB-70 Valkyrie). Curtis LeMay lobbied to have that changed to "strategic reconnaissance ", and while he was losing that fight internally in the USAF, convinced Lyndon Johnson’s speech writers to make the change. So Johnson gave a speech calling it the SR-71, and the USF dutifully changed all the documentation from R-12 to SR-71...
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3140
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:10 pm

Quoting rwessel (Reply 11):
The XF-35 and XF-36 should have been Y's,

No way. Those were technology demonstrators, and nowhere near what the actual production craft was to be. Totally appropriate use of the X in that case.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
TGIF
Posts: 262
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:01 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:13 pm

Quoting rwessel (Reply 11):
The XF-35 and XF-36 should have been Y's, the X-26A (basically a stock Schweizer SGS 2-32) has been named the most inappropriate use of "X" ever. The designations often have a political purpose as well (F/A-18).

Thanks for the thurough explanation, but you mean X-32 right?

I guess the F-117 can be added to the list of A/C with a "political purpose" designation.
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2104
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:35 pm

Quoting TGIF (Reply 13):
I guess the F-117 can be added to the list of A/C with a "political purpose" designation

Not quite.. maybe the number being out of sequence but the USAF sometimes calls Tactical Bombers - fighters... as in the case of the F-111. Since the F-117 first flew in 1977 it should have been the F-19 sequentially.. we already had the YF-16 and YF-17 and presumably F-18 was already in production...and we did get the F-20 Tigershark and F-21 Kfir.
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3140
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:53 pm

The F-117 was in fact sequential though, with YF-112 through -116 used for Soviet aircraft tested by the USAF, though they skilled the YF-115 for some reason.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2104
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:50 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 15):
The F-117 was in fact sequential though, with YF-112 through -116 used for Soviet aircraft tested by the USAF, though they skilled the YF-115 for some reason.

I knew we used some post 111 numbers for Soviet aircraft owned by the USAF, but by the time the F-117 flew we had already been in the 'teen' fighters for some time.. the F-14 and 15 flying in the early 70's and the F-16 and 18 shortly thereafter. I'm not arguing the point as much as asking where the fault in my logic is if you're correct.
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
rwessel
Posts: 2448
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:57 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 12):
No way. Those were technology demonstrators, and nowhere near what the actual production craft was to be. Totally appropriate use of the X in that case.

I'd disagree - there was no flight research involved here (or very little). These were very early prototypes, and yes, not particularly representative of the final versions, but that's the nature of early prototypes. Compare the YF-16 and YF-17s to the final production version for a similar situation. It made for a good marketing slogan: "The battle of the X planes!"

Another example of oddness, the two prototypes B-52s: The XB-52 and the YB-52. Basically identical airframes (different flight test gear).

Quoting TGIF (Reply 13):
Thanks for the thurough explanation, but you mean X-32 right?

Yes, the JSF prototypes were the X-32 and X-35. Not sure where I got X-36 from.
 
fsnuffer
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:38 am

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:18 pm

Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Then what's the deal with the SR-71?
I'm guessing the 'S' isn't for Anti submarine here, but rather Surveillance. Could there be several uses of the letter 'S'?

From what I have heard the SR-71 was originally the RS-71 but when Lyndon Johnson announced its existence he flipped the letters by mistake and the AF did not want to "correct" the Commander in Chief so they just renamed it the SR-71. I have no sources for this but that is the urban legend.
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2104
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

RE: Why Letter "K" In KC-135?

Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:18 pm

Quoting fsnuffer (Reply 18):
From what I have heard the SR-71 was originally the RS-71 but when Lyndon Johnson announced its existence he flipped the letters by mistake and the AF did not want to "correct" the Commander in Chief so they just renamed it the SR-71. I have no sources for this but that is the urban legend.

I would read the whole thread before commenting...  
Quoting rwessel (Reply 11):
It was supposed to be "RS-12" (reconnaissance/strike), with consider given to renaming it RS-71 (to follow the proposed RS-70 version of the XB-70 Valkyrie). Curtis LeMay lobbied to have that changed to "strategic reconnaissance ", and while he was losing that fight internally in the USAF, convinced Lyndon Johnson’s speech writers to make the change. So Johnson gave a speech calling it the SR-71, and the USF dutifully changed all the documentation from R-12 to SR-71...
Here Here for Severe Clear!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], WIederling and 15 guests