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KC-135R vs KC-135T

Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:35 pm

Hello all,

First off, I didn't know whether to put this in the Military Forum or TechOps, so pardon me if this isn't in the correct section.

Now I know that the KC-135R is a re-engined KC-135A/KC-135E which seems to be the "normal" version. Whereas the KC-135T is a re-engined KC-135Q which was specifically modified to carry the SR-71's JP-7 fuel.

I am wondering if there are any external differences between the two that can help identify whether I'm looking at an R or T. I've read on Wiki that there is some kind of additional window under the boom on the T that the R doesn't have and that's apparently the only visible difference. I did get to go up close to a KC-135 at an airshow and it said "KC-135R" in print on the nose of the aircraft, but that can be very difficult to spot from afar. I am just wondering if anyone knows any other way to spot the differences of the two models?

Thank you!
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Re: KC-135R vs KC-135T

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:04 pm

With the SR-71s not flying anymore, what is the status of the KC-135T?
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Re: KC-135R vs KC-135T

Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:09 pm

IIRC, the Q had a modification to the vertical stab in the form of a light at the rear portion of the top of the vertical stab. If you look at the difference when you compare an R with a T you will notice the T top is slightly longer at the rear and provided light for the SR. That's what I used. The times, years ago, when I refueled under a Q it was at night and the light provided quite a bit of light. But being in a Buff, it really didn't do too much because of the lack of overhead visibility. Plus, I was a "layer" and really didn't bother to look up much.
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Re: KC-135R vs KC-135T

Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:05 pm

I have moved thread to Military, seems to be the better place for discussion.
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Re: KC-135R vs KC-135T

Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:51 am

citationjet wrote:
With the SR-71s not flying anymore, what is the status of the KC-135T?

It seems as if the T is mixed in with the R and they basically do the same missions. I don't think there is currently a specific aircraft in the USAF inventory that requires the KC-135T only for mid-air refueling.
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Re: KC-135R vs KC-135T

Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:09 pm

They do the exact same mission now. You are right about the window, but visually it is almost impossible to see. The boomer's window is the same on both, but on the KC-135T there is some additional equipment blocking the view from the inside (on the righthand side inside). That is the difference.

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