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Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

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The design of the KC-135 Stratotanker began in 1952 when Boeing gambled $16 million of it's own money to build a prototype of a new jet airliner.  Boeing's money was supplemented by the U.S. Air Force's need for a high speed tanker to fuel it's new B-47 jet bombers.

Initially designated the 367-80 (or Dash 80) to maintain secrecy, the prototype first flew in 1954.  Originally designed with a 132 inch diameter fuselage, the U.S. Air Force required 144 inches.  The redesigned KC-135 first flew in 1956.

In total, 820 KC-135 tankers and C-135 transports (Stratolifters) were produced.  With updated CFM56/F108 engines and avionics, these aircraft will continue in use past 2020.

In order to compete successfully with the Douglas DC-8, Boeing again increased the diameter of the fuselage, this time to 148 inches.  This civil version was dubbed the 707.

 Specifications (KC-135B)  Designations
Type: Transport/Tanker
Engines: four 18,000 lb (8135 kg) thrust Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-5 turbofans
Model 367-80: Initial Boeing model number
C-135: U.S. Air Force transport
EC-135: Airborne command post
KC-135: U.S. Air Force tanker
NC-135: Nuclear test monitoring version
RC-135: Electronic reconnaissance version
VC-135: VIP Transport
WC-135: Long-range weather reconnaissance version
 Related pages
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page updated 10 February 2008



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Kenneth W Shanaberger 2000 - 2010