rolypolyman
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SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:21 pm

I was looking at some B-1B pictures on the Internet and wondered if B-1Bs, B-52s, KC-135s, KC-10s, or the like have ever deployed to South America or Africa, or made an emergency landing there.

My only bit of knowledge is that in 1994 KC-10s or KC-135s were deployed to Harare (Zimbabwe) to help position fuel over central Africa during Operation Support Hope. AMC traffic was supposedly so heavy into Goma that holding patterns were established and the tankers were positioned to help with low-fuel situations, I guess for both inbounds and outbounds.

Did any US planes deploy to provide support for the Falklands campaign? I'm guessing that would have been done entirely on Ascension Island if at all.

On a related note I know that in the late 1970s Soviet Tu-95s had landing rights at Conakry, Guinea in order to reach Cuba until US diplomatic pressure cut them off.. there's plenty on the CIA FOIA site in documents like this one about it.

[Edited 2013-04-04 13:22:08]
 
rfields5421
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:19 am

Quoting rolypolyman (Thread starter):
Did any US planes deploy to provide support for the Falklands campaign?

I was stationed with the US Navy on the island of Antigua during the Falklands war. There were two weekly CHS-ANU-ASI-JNB C-141 round trips for support of the Atlantic Test Range stations and the US Embassies in Africa with Johannesburg as the focal point.

During the Falklands war we saw as many as 12 C-141s a week, and most of them returned thru ANU on a schedule that was only possible with a RON and return from ASI. I do not believe any tactical aircraft were deployed to ASI, but it was public knowledge that some KC-135 aircraft flew from ASI to refuel British aircraft.

Wheelus AFB in Libya hosted many early SAC bombers - B-36, B-47, B-50s and various tankers. There was a 45 day deployment rotation to Wheelus before the base moved from SAC to MATS in 1951. The base is now HLLM / MJI.
 
rfields5421
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:25 pm

Thinking about this last night, I should mention that there has never been a threat where basing / deploying SAC assets to South America or Africa would be useful.

Ever Wheelus was replaced as an active SAC base when a more suitable base in Europe became available and improved aircraft became available.

There isn't really a need or desire to provide demonstrations of strategic aircraft and capabilities in those areas.

Now tactical level aircraft and assets - certainly they have been demonstrated / deployed.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:44 pm

SAC KC-135s went to Cairo several times in the 1980s and 1990s.
 
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Moose135
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:24 am

Not "South" America, but back in the 1980s, we (305th AREFW) had KC-135s deployed to Panama supporting the "special" C-130s on a regular basis. Usually crews would rotate through on a 30 day TDY, but we always had a tanker or two down there at the time. We lost one of our birds and her 4-man crew one night returning from a mission.
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kc135topboom
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:06 pm

IIRC, Gen. Curt LeMay was aboard a KC-135A on a record breaking flight from the US to Brazil or Argentina back in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
 
iRISH251
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:44 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 1):
I do not believe any tactical aircraft were deployed to ASI, but it was public knowledge that some KC-135 aircraft flew from ASI to refuel British aircraft.

I have never heard of that before and, if true, it would have required the KC-135s to be fitted with a drogue extension to the flying-boom, to match the British probe refuelling system. What specific role would US KC-135s have fulfilled?

The famous Vulcan missions were entirely supported by British Victor tankers, as has been covered in much detail in books and TV programmes.
 
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Moose135
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:35 pm

Quoting IRISH251 (Reply 6):
...it would have required the KC-135s to be fitted with a drogue extension to the flying-boom, to match the British probe refuelling system.

A fairly simple procedure to install it. Did a TDY to Mildenhall back in the day and we refueled West German Tornados on multiple sorties with the drogue.
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rc135x
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:15 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
IIRC, Gen. Curt LeMay was aboard a KC-135A on a record breaking flight from the US to Brazil or Argentina back in the late 1950s or early 1960s.



TopBoom is indeed correct! Operation LONG LEGS was a non-stop flight from Westover AFB to Ezezia AP at Buenos Aires on KC-135A 55-3126, setting world speed and non-stop distance records. The flight earned the Harmon Trophy as well. The northbound flight on 13 November also set a record, and landed at National AP. The airplane was LeMay's favorite, and it eventually became the first SPECKLED TROUT.

In addition to Wheelus AB, LIbya, SAC B-29s, B-50s, B-47s, B-52s, and B-36s operated from Sidi Slimane, Morocco. Indeed, on 31 Jan 58, B-47E 52-0242 crashed there while carrying a nuclear weapon which released contamination.

Although not SAC, there were other KC-135 variants that visited Africa:

The ARIA [Advanced (later Apollo) Range Instrumented Aircraft] and TRIA [Telemetry Range Instrumented Aircraft] EC-135s deployed often to Ascension/Wideawake and African bases in support of the U.S. space program.

The STRIKE COMMAND KC-135A burned out at Cairo West AB. Cairo West also served as a divert base for SAC KC-135s during DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. The CENTCOM EC-135N and EC-135Y frequented Cairo West as well.

C-135B 62-4127 was an occasional visitor to Harare prior to its transfer from the NJ ANG.

RC-135As conducted photomapping of the Amazon and large portions of South America, and deployed to South Africa as well.

I have heard rumors that USAF assets refueled RAF aircraft during the Falklands/Malvinas campaign. None of these were involved in refueling the BLACK BUCK Vulcans themselves, but are purported to have refueled the Victor tankers which in turn refueled the Vulcans. None of the KC-135 community that I have interviewed claims to have participated, instead suggesting that it might have been SAC KC-10s which have the organic refueling drogue. None of my KC-10 colleagues have any first-hand knowledge of this, so it may well be apocryphal (I would love to get any kind of confirmation).

Since the KC-135R/Ts were acquired by AMC they have become regular visitors at many African and South American locations.

[edit: RC-135A information added; reformatting errors corrected.

[Edited 2013-04-07 19:27:51]
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
rc135x
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:31 pm

Quoting rc135x (Reply 8):
Operation LONG LEGS was a non-stop flight from Westover AFB to Ezezia AP at Buenos Aires on KC-135A 55-3126,

For some reason the formatting keeps changing and deleting sections of the text---sorry.

The dates of the flights were 11 Nov 57 and 13 Nov 57.
KC-135A, A(RT), D, E, E(RT), Q, R, EC-135A, C, G, L, RC-135S, U, V, W, X, TC-135S, W
 
L-188
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:32 am

I doubt that KC-10's where used to support GB. they had only entered service a year earlier and since it took until 88 for all 60 to be delivered, I suspect by the time of the war there where only a half dozen or less in service. But that also in an explanation for rc135 hasn't found anybody with firsthand knowledge of the operation, if it happened.

Believe it or not this was the first war I followed on the news, at nine years old. I do remember seeing a news broadcast about aid the US could provide. I distinctly remember the story mentioning the possibility of the US sending KC-97'sbfrom the desert to the RAF to firm up their tanker needs. At that point they had only been retired four years so could have been quickly deactivated for a load program.
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rwy04lga
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RE: SAC-type Planes Ever Visited Africa / S. America?

Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:53 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 1):
Wheelus AFB in Libya hosted many early SAC bombers - B-36, B-47, B-50s
Quoting rc135x (Reply 8):
In addition to Wheelus AB, LIbya, SAC B-29s, B-50s, B-47s, B-52s, and B-36s operated from Sidi Slimane, Morocco.

Dad flew B-47s out of both. TDY from MacDill.
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