Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker: Aircraft profile

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Mission

The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the United States Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years.

KC-135 Stratotanker: An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refuels a Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado over Iraq using the multi-point refueling system.KC-135 Stratotanker: An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refuels a Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado over Iraq using the multi-point refueling system.

This unique asset enhances the Air Force's capability to accomplish its primary missions of Global Reach and Global Power. It also provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft. The KC-135 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.

Features

Four turbofans, mounted under 35-degree swept wings, power the KC-135 to takeoffs at gross weights up to 322,500 pounds. Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the flying boom, the KC-135's primary fuel transfer method. A special shuttlecock-shaped drogue, attached to and trailing behind the flying boom, may be used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes.

Some aircraft have been configured with the Multipoint Refueling System or MPRS. MPRS configured aircraft are capable of refueling two receiver aircraft simultaneously from special "pods" mounted on the wingtips.

One crewmember, known as the boom operator, is stationed in the rear of the plane and controls the boom during in-flight air refueling. A cargo deck above the refueling system can hold a mixed load of passengers and cargo. Depending on fuel storage configuration, the KC-135 can carry up to 83,000 pounds of cargo.

KC-135 Stratotanker: KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. -- A formation of F-15 Eagles from the Oregon Air National Guard receive fuel from a Washington Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker during Exercise Sentry Eagle on Aug. 10th. Sentry Eagle is a biannual, two-day exercise held by the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing. The exercise emphasizes tactics for defending friendly airspace and assets from a variety of adversaries as well as exposing participants to multiservice military forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.)KC-135 Stratotanker: KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. -- A formation of F-15 Eagles from the Oregon Air National Guard receive fuel from a Washington Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker during Exercise Sentry Eagle on Aug. 10th. Sentry Eagle is a biannual, two-day exercise held by the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing. The exercise emphasizes tactics for defending friendly airspace and assets from a variety of adversaries as well as exposing participants to multiservice military forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.)

Background

Air Mobility Command manages an inventory of more than 481 Stratotankers, of which the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard fly 294 in support of AMC's mission.

The Boeing Company's model 367-80 was the basic design for the commercial 707 passenger plane as well as the KC-135A Stratotanker. In 1954 the Air Force purchased the first 29 of its future 732-plane fleet. The first aircraft flew in August 1956 and the initial production Stratotanker was delivered to Castle Air Force Base, Calif., in June 1957. The last KC-135 was delivered to the Air Force in 1965.

Of the original KC-135A's, more than 415 have been modified with new CFM-56 engines produced by CFM-International. The re-engined tanker, designated either the KC-135R or KC-135T, can offload 50 percent more fuel, is 25 percent more fuel efficient, costs 25 percent less to operate and is 96 percent quieter than the KC-135A.

Under another modification program, 157 Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard tankers were re-engined with the TF-33-PW-102 engines. The re-engined tanker, designated the KC-135E, is 14 percent more fuel efficient than the KC-135A and can offload 20 percent more fuel.

Through the years, the KC-135 has been altered to do other jobs ranging from flying command post missions to reconnaissance. RC-135s are used for special reconnaissance and Air Force Materiel Command's NKC-135A's are flown in test programs. Air Combat Command operates the OC-135 as an observation platform in compliance with the Open Skies Treaty.

The KC-135R/T model aircraft continue to undergo life-cycle upgrades to expand its capabilities and improve its reliability. Among these are improved communications, navigation, auto-pilot and surveillance equipment to meet future civil air traffic control needs.

KC-135 Stratotanker: OVER IRAQ (AFPN) -- From a KC-135 Stratotanker, Tech. Sgt. John Baughman refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a recent mission supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sergeant Baughman is a boom operator deployed from the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. The F-16 is assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. John E. Lasky)KC-135 Stratotanker: OVER IRAQ (AFPN) -- From a KC-135 Stratotanker, Tech. Sgt. John Baughman refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a recent mission supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sergeant Baughman is a boom operator deployed from the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. The F-16 is assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. John E. Lasky)

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Aerial refueling and airlift

Prime Contractor: The Boeing Company

Power Plant: KC-135R/T, CFM International CFM-56 turbofan engines; KC-135E, Pratt and Whitney TF-33-PW-102 turbofan engines

Thrust: KC-135R, 21,634 pounds each engine; KC-135E, 18,000 pounds each engine

Wingspan: 130 feet, 10 inches (39.88 meters)

Length: 136 feet, 3 inches (41.53 meters)

Height: 41 feet, 8 inches (12.7 meters)

Speed: 530 miles per hour at 30,000 feet (9,144 meters)

Ceiling: 50,000 feet (15,240 meters)

Range: 1,500 miles (2,419 kilometers) with 150,000 pounds (68,039 kilograms) of transfer fuel; ferry mission, up to 11,015 miles (17,766 kilometers)

Maximum Takeoff Weight: 322,500 pounds (146,285 kilograms)

Maximum Transfer Fuel Load: 200,000 pounds (90,719 kilograms)

Maximum Cargo Capability: 83,000 pounds (37,648 kilograms), 37 passengers

Pallet Positions: 6

Crew: Three: pilot, co-pilot and boom operator. Some KC-135 missions require the addition of a navigator. The Air Force has a limited number of navigator suites that can be installed for unique missions.

Aeromedical Evacuation Crew: A basic crew of five (two flight nurses and three medical technicians) is added for aeromedical evacuation missions. Medical crew may be altered as required by the needs of patients.

Unit Cost: $39.6 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)

Date Deployed: August 1956

Inventory: Active duty, 187; Air National Guard, 217; Air Force Reserve, 77

Source: USAF

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is a United States aerial refueling tanker aircraft. It has been in service with the United States Air Force since 1957.

Development

The KC-135 is derived from the original Boeing jet transport "proof of concept" demonstrator, the Boeing 367-80 (commonly called the "Dash-80"). As such, it has a narrower fuselage and is shorter than the Boeing 707 jetliner. Boeing gave the tanker the designation of Model 717.

KC-135 Stratotanker: 1960s -- A flight of U.S. Air Force F-4C Phantom fighter bombers refuel from a KC-135 tanker aircraft before making a strike against communist targets in North Vietnam. The Phantoms are fully loaded with 750 pound general purpose bombs and rockets. (U.S. Air Force photo)KC-135 Stratotanker: 1960s -- A flight of U.S. Air Force F-4C Phantom fighter bombers refuel from a KC-135 tanker aircraft before making a strike against communist targets in North Vietnam. The Phantoms are fully loaded with 750 pound general purpose bombs and rockets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Developed in the late 1950s, the basic airframe is characterized by swept wings and tail, four underwing mounted engine pods, a horizontal stabilizer mounted on the fuselage near the bottom of the vertical stabilizer with positive dihedral on the two horizontal planes and a hi-frequency radio antenna which protrudes forward from the top of the vertical fin or stabilizer. These basic features make it strongly resemble the commercial Boeing 707 and 720 aircraft, although it is actually a different aircraft.

The Strategic Air Command had the KC-135 Stratotankers in service from 1957 through 1991 and with the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve from 1975 through 1991, when most were re-assigned to the newly-created Air Mobility Command (AMC). As AMC gained the preponderance of the aerial refueling mission, a small number of KC-135s were also assigned to directly United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). Reconnaissance and command post variants, including EC-135 Looking Glass, Post Attack Command & Control Systems were operated by SAC from 1963 through 1991, when they were re-assigned to the Air Combat Command.

Boeing's 367-80 was the basic design for the commercial Boeing 707 passenger aircraft as well as the KC-135A Stratotanker. In 1954 the USAF's Strategic Air Command ordered the first 29 of its future fleet of 732. The first aircraft flew in August 1956 and the initial production Stratotanker was delivered to Castle Air Force Base, California, in June 1957. The last KC-135 was delivered to the Air Force in 1965.

Four turbojet engines, mounted under 35-degree swept wings, power the KC-135 to takeoffs at gross weights up to 322,500 pounds (146,300 kg). Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the tanker's flying boom, the KC-135's primary fuel transfer method. A special shuttlecock-shaped drogue, attached to and trailing behind the flying boom, may be used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. A boom operator stationed in the rear of the aircraft controls the boom while lying prone. A cargo deck above the refueling system can hold a mixed load of passengers and cargo. Depending on fuel storage configuration, the KC-135 can carry up to 83,000 pounds (37,600 kg) of cargo.

Design

General upgrades

The KC-135Q was the variant modified to carry the JP-7 fuel necessary for the SR-71 Blackbird, segregating the JP-7 from the KC-135's own fuel supply (the body tanks carrying JP-7, and the wing tanks carrying JP-4). When the KC-135Q model received the CFM-56 engines, it was redesignated the KC-135T model, which was capable of separating the main body tanks from the wing tanks where the KC-135 draws its engine fuel. The only external difference between a KC-135R and a KC-135T is the presence of a clear window on the underside of the empennage of the KC-135T where a remote controlled searchlight is mounted.

Eight KC-135R aircraft are receiver-capable tankers, commonly referred to as KC-135R(RT). All eight aircraft are with the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell AFB, KS as of 1994. They are primarily used for force extension and Special Operations missions, and are crewed by highly qualified receiver capable crews. If not used for the receiver mission, these aircraft can be flown just like any other KC-135R.

In order to expand the KC-135's capabilities and improve its reliability, the aircraft has undergone a number of upgrades. Among these was the Pacer-CRAG program (CRAG=Compass, Radar And GPS) which ran from 1999 to 2002 and modified all the aircraft in the inventory to eliminate the Navigator position from the flight crew. The modifications were performed by BAE Systems at the Mojave Airport in California. The latest block upgrade to the KC-135 is Block 40.3 which allows the KC-135 to comply with CNS/ATM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM -- Capts. David Eisenbrey, left, and Ryan Budinko conduct preflight checks in a KC-135 Stratotanker before an air refueling mission at a forward-deployed location. Both are deployed to the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron from the 905th Air Refueling Squadron at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jocelyn Rich)KC-135 Stratotanker: OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM -- Capts. David Eisenbrey, left, and Ryan Budinko conduct preflight checks in a KC-135 Stratotanker before an air refueling mission at a forward-deployed location. Both are deployed to the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron from the 905th Air Refueling Squadron at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jocelyn Rich)

Re-engining

All KC-135s were originally equipped with Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-59W turbojet engines which produced 10,000 lb of thrust dry, and approximately 13,000 pounds of thrust wet. Wet thrust was achieved through the use of water injection on takeoff. 670 gallons of water were injected into the engines over the course of two and a half minutes. This water allowed a second set of fuel injectors to activate without melting the turbine buckets. The water turned to steam, was ejected out the rear of the engine, and increased thrust. The water and the extra fuel increased the mass through the engine, increasing thrust. The engine ran a little hotter, increasing thrust as well as engine noise. The A-model on takeoff was a loud jet. In the 1980s the first modification program re-engined 157 Air Force Reserve (AFRES) and Air National Guard (ANG) tankers with the Pratt & Whitney TF-33-PW-102 engines from 707 airliners retired in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The re-engined tanker, designated the KC-135E, (now retired) was 14% more fuel efficient than the KC-135A and could offload 20% more fuel on long duration flights. (The difference is that the A-model weighed only 104,000 lb empty, while the E-model weighed 115,000 lb empty. But the maximum takeoff weight was not increased for the E-model. Therefore, the A-model could takeoff with 200,000 lb of fuel, while the E-model could only takeoff with 190,000 lb of fuel.) Only the KC-135E aircraft were equipped with thrust-reversers for takeoff aborts and shorter landing roll-outs.

The second modification program re-engined 500 with new CFM International CFM56 (F-108 for the military designation) engines produced by General Electric and Snecma. The re-engined tanker, designated either the KC-135R or KC-135T, can offload up to 50% more fuel (on a long duration sortie), is 25% more fuel efficient, costs 25% less to operate and is 96% quieter than the KC-135A.

The KC-135R's operational range is 60% greater than the KC-135E for comparable fuel offloads, providing a wider range of basing options.

No longer in consideration, upgrading the remaining KC-135E into KC-135R would have cost about three billion dollars, about 24 million dollars per aircraft. According to Air Force data, the KC-135 fleet had a total operation and support cost in fiscal year 2001 of about $2.2 billion. The older E model aircraft averaged total costs of about $4.6 million per aircraft, while the R models averaged about $3.7 million per aircraft. Those costs include personnel, fuel, maintenance, modifications, and spare parts. Multi-Point Refueling System program

This program adds refueling pods to the KC-135's wings. The pods allow refueling of U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and NATO tactical jet aircraft while keeping the tail-mounted refueling boom. Research and development

Besides its primary role as an inflight aircraft refueler, the KC-135, designated NKC-135, has assisted in several research projects at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. One such project occurred between 1979 and 1980 when special wingtip "winglets", developed by Richard Whitcomb of the Langley Research Center, were tested at Dryden, using an NKC-135A tanker loaned to NASA by the Air Force. Winglets are small, nearly vertical fins installed on an aircraft's wing tips. The results of the research showed that drag was reduced and range could be increased by as much as 7 percent at cruise speeds. Winglets are now being incorporated into most new commercial and military transport jets, as well as business aviation jets.

NASA also has operated several KC-135 aircraft (without the tanker equipment installed) as their infamous Vomit Comet zero-gravity simulator aircraft. The longest-serving (1973 to 1995) version was KC-135A 59-1481, named Weightless Wonder IV registered N930NA. Electronic warfare

A number of KC-135A and KC-135B aircraft have been modified to EC-135 configuration for use in several different roles.

Operational history

In Southeast Asia, the KC-135 Stratotankers ability as a force multiplier truly came to the fore. Midair refueling brought far-flung bombing targets within reach, and allowed fighter missions to spend hours at the front, rather than just a few minutes, due to their limited fuel reserves.

Air Mobility Command (AMC) manages more than 481 Stratotankers, of which the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard fly 292 in support of AMC's mission as on April 2008. Replacing the KC-135

As of 2006, the KC-135E fleet is flying an annual average of 350 hours per aircraft and the KC-135R fleet is flying an annual average of 710 hours per aircraft. The KC-135 fleet is currently flying double its planned yearly flying hour program to meet airborne refueling requirements, and has resulted in higher than forecast usage and sustainment costs.

The Air Force projects that E and R models have lifetime flying hour limits of 36,000 and 39,000 hours, respectively. According to the Air Force, only a few KC-135s would reach these limits before 2040, but at that time some of the aircraft would be about 80 years old. The Air Force estimates that their current fleet of KC-135s have between 12,000 to 14,000 flying hours on them-only 33 percent of the lifetime flying hour limit. Nevertheless these aircraft are over 40 years old and maintenance costs are increasing, with airframe corrosion being the worst problem.

Between 1993 and 2003, the amount of KC-135 depot maintenance work doubled, and the overhaul cost per aircraft tripled. In 1996 it cost $8,400 per flight hour for the KC-135, and in 2002 this had grown to $11,000. The Air Force’s 15-year cost estimates project further significant growth through fiscal year 2017. For example, operations and support costs for the KC-135 fleet are estimated to grow from about $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2003 to $5.1 billion (2003 dollars) in fiscal year 2017, an increase of $2.9 billion, or over 130 percent, which represents an annual growth rate of about 6.2 percent.

The USAF has decided to replace the KC-135 fleet. However, since there are over 500 KC-135 these planes will be replaced gradually, with the first batch of about 100 aircraft to be replaced in the current buy. The effort to replace the KC-135 has been marked by intense controversy.

Initially the first batch of replacement planes was to be an air tanker version of the Boeing 767, leased from Boeing. In 2003, this was changed to contract where the Air Force would purchase 80 KC-767 aircraft and lease 20 more. In December 2003, the Pentagon froze the contract and in January 2006, the KC-767 contract was canceled. This followed public revelations of corruption in how the contract was awarded, as well as controversy regarding the original leasing rather than outright purchase agreement. This was also designed to be a cost-cutting measure and is part of a larger reorganization and redefinition of the Air Force's mission that includes the retirement of the E-4B fleet, the cancellation of the Boeing 767-based E-10 MC2A program, as well as the elimination of all but 58 B-52 Stratofortresses. Former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld stated that this move will in no way impair the Air Force's ability to deliver the mission of the KC-767, which will be accomplished by continuing upgrades to the KC-135 and KC-10 Extender fleet.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135 Stratotanker refuels F-16 Fighting Falcons over Peru Feb. 15 during Falcon and Condor 2007, a joint U.S. and Peruvian exercise. The exercise allows the U.S. military to build relationships with military and civilian leaders of Peru. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Kreps)KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135 Stratotanker refuels F-16 Fighting Falcons over Peru Feb. 15 during Falcon and Condor 2007, a joint U.S. and Peruvian exercise. The exercise allows the U.S. military to build relationships with military and civilian leaders of Peru. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Kreps)

In January 2007, the U.S. Air Force formally launched the KC-X program with a request for proposal (RFP). KC-X is first phase of three acquisition programs to replace the KC-135 fleet. On 29 February 2008, the US Defense Department announced that it had selected the EADS/Northrop Grumman "KC-30" (to be designated the KC-45A) over the Boeing KC-767. On June 18, 2008, the US Government Accountability Office sustained Boeing's protest of the selection of the Northrop Grumman/EADS's tanker. The status of the KC-45A is in doubt and the Air Force may have to rebid the contract, potentially reversing their earlier decision.

Variants

KC-135A

Original production version powered by four Pratt & Whitney J57s, 732 built.

NKC-135A

Test-configured KC-135A

KC-135B

Airborne command post version with 17 built equipped with turbofan engines. Provided with in-flight refueling capability and redesignated EC-135C.

KC-135D

All four RC-135As were modified to partial KC-135A configuration in 1979. They were given a unique designation as they differed from the KC-135A in that they were built with a flight engineers position on the flight deck. The flight engineer's position was removed when the aircraft were modified to KC-135 standards but they retained their electrically-powered wing flap secondary (emergency) drive mechanism and second air conditioning pack which had been used to cool the RC-135As on-board photo-mapping systems. Later re-engined with Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines and a cockpit update to KC-135E standards in 1990.

KC-135E

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve KC-135As re-engined with Pratt & Whitney TF-33-PW-102 engines from retired 707 airliners (161 modified). These aircraft are being retired to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and replaced with R models.

NKC-135E

Test-configured KC-135E

C-135F

Variant with J57 engines for the French Air Force, 12 built, 11 re-engined with CFM-56 as C-135RF.

KC-135Q

KC-135As modified to carry JP-7 fuel necessary for the SR-71 Blackbird, 56 modified, survivors to KC-135T.

KC-135R

KC-135As re-engined with CFM-56 engines.

KC-135R(RT)

Receiver-capable KC-135R Stratotanker, 8 modified with either a Boeing or LTV receiver system and a secure voice SATCOM radio.

KC-135T

KC-135Q re-engined with CFM-56 engines, 54 modified.

EC-135Y

An airborne command post modified in 1984 to support CINCCENT. Aircraft 55-3125 was the only EC-135Y. Unlike it's sister EC-135N, it was a true tanker that could also receive in-flight refueling. Pratt & Whitney TF-33-PW-102. Currently retired at AMARC.

More photos:

KC-135 Stratotanker: Light enhanced, fisheye lens view, showing US Air Force (USAF) Technical Sergeant (TSGT) Patrick Bennett, Boom Operator aboard a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 96th Air Refueling Squadron, as he refuels a USAF RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft, patrolling the no-fly-zone near Southern Iraq, in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.KC-135 Stratotanker: Light enhanced, fisheye lens view, showing US Air Force (USAF) Technical Sergeant (TSGT) Patrick Bennett, Boom Operator aboard a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 96th Air Refueling Squadron, as he refuels a USAF RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft, patrolling the no-fly-zone near Southern Iraq, in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker streaks through the night on an aerial refueling mission with a C-17 Globemaster near Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker streaks through the night on an aerial refueling mission with a C-17 Globemaster near Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker refueler taxis toward the runway on Moron Air Base, Spain in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker refueler taxis toward the runway on Moron Air Base, Spain in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A Florida Air National Guard F-15C Eagle aircraft assigned to the 125th Fighter Wing (FW), refuels from an USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, during Combat Air Patrol (CAP) mission over Central Florida in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE.KC-135 Stratotanker: A Florida Air National Guard F-15C Eagle aircraft assigned to the 125th Fighter Wing (FW), refuels from an USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, during Combat Air Patrol (CAP) mission over Central Florida in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE.

KC-135 Stratotanker: First Lieutenant (1LT) Jerrad Krapp, a KC-135 Stratotanker co-pilot, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington, prepares his aircraft for takeoff in support of exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002.KC-135 Stratotanker: First Lieutenant (1LT) Jerrad Krapp, a KC-135 Stratotanker co-pilot, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington, prepares his aircraft for takeoff in support of exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002.

KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) Captain (CPT) Jeffrey Meyers (Pilot) and Co-Pilot USAF First Lieutenant (1LT) Paul Roberts, 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), review flight plans inside the cockpit of their KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, at Sola Air Station, Norway, before a mission in support of Exercise STRONG RESOLVE 2002.KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) Captain (CPT) Jeffrey Meyers (Pilot) and Co-Pilot USAF First Lieutenant (1LT) Paul Roberts, 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), review flight plans inside the cockpit of their KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, at Sola Air Station, Norway, before a mission in support of Exercise STRONG RESOLVE 2002.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), sits on the ramp while storm clouds move in at Sola Air Station, Norway during Exercise STRONG RESOLVE 2002.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 351st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), sits on the ramp while storm clouds move in at Sola Air Station, Norway during Exercise STRONG RESOLVE 2002.

KC-135 Stratotanker: Over the ocean, a KC-135 Stratotanker, from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington, participating in exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002, prepares to refuel a group of F-15E Strike Eagles from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.KC-135 Stratotanker: Over the ocean, a KC-135 Stratotanker, from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington, participating in exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002, prepares to refuel a group of F-15E Strike Eagles from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker, 173rd Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), Nebraska Air National Guard (NEANG), flies in formation with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, over the flightline at Moron AB, Spain. The team spent three weeks at Moron AB, Spain practicing for this years circuit of air shows providing a show for our troops deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker, 173rd Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), Nebraska Air National Guard (NEANG), flies in formation with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, over the flightline at Moron AB, Spain. The team spent three weeks at Moron AB, Spain practicing for this years circuit of air shows providing a show for our troops deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker, 173rd Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), Nebraska Air National Guard (NEANG), flies in formation with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, over the flightline at Moron AB, Spain. The team spent three weeks at Moron AB, Spain practicing for this years circuit of air shows providing a show for our troops deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A KC-135R Stratotanker, 173rd Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), Nebraska Air National Guard (NEANG), flies in formation with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, over the flightline at Moron AB, Spain. The team spent three weeks at Moron AB, Spain practicing for this years circuit of air shows providing a show for our troops deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: Three US Air Force (USAF) F-15D Eagle aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron fly a refueling mission with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 168th Aerial Refueling Squadron (ARS) Alaskan Air National Guard (ANG) during a mission in support of Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002. The F-15D aircraft are armed with AIM-120 Advance Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles.KC-135 Stratotanker: Three US Air Force (USAF) F-15D Eagle aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron fly a refueling mission with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 168th Aerial Refueling Squadron (ARS) Alaskan Air National Guard (ANG) during a mission in support of Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002. The F-15D aircraft are armed with AIM-120 Advance Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles.

KC-135 Stratotanker: An Air National Guard (ANG) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft taxis down the runway at Eielson Air Force (AFB), Alaska (AK), during Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002.KC-135 Stratotanker: An Air National Guard (ANG) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft taxis down the runway at Eielson Air Force (AFB), Alaska (AK), during Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002.

KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) Captain (CPT) Randy Saurer, KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft Pilot assigned to the 168th Aerial Refueling Squadron (ARS) Alaskan Air National Guard (ANGZ) performs a preflight check in the cockpit of his aircraft, before a mission in support of Operation NORTHERN EDGE 2002.KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) Captain (CPT) Randy Saurer, KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft Pilot assigned to the 168th Aerial Refueling Squadron (ARS) Alaskan Air National Guard (ANGZ) performs a preflight check in the cockpit of his aircraft, before a mission in support of Operation NORTHERN EDGE 2002.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A High angle view showing various US Air Force (USAF) aircraft parked on the tarmac at Sheppard Air Force Base (AFB) Texas (TX). The aircraft are used for training future crew chiefs, which is a large part of the mission at Sheppard AFB. Pictured are USAF C-141 'Starlifter' aircraft; KC-135 'Stratotanker' aircraft; EC-135 'Looking Glass aircraft; C-130 'Hercules' aircraft; A-10 'Thunderbolt II' aircraft, F-111 'Aardvark' aircraft; F-15 'Eagle' aircraft; and a F-16 ' Fighting Falcon' aircraft.KC-135 Stratotanker: A High angle view showing various US Air Force (USAF) aircraft parked on the tarmac at Sheppard Air Force Base (AFB) Texas (TX). The aircraft are used for training future crew chiefs, which is a large part of the mission at Sheppard AFB. Pictured are USAF C-141 'Starlifter' aircraft; KC-135 'Stratotanker' aircraft; EC-135 'Looking Glass aircraft; C-130 'Hercules' aircraft; A-10 'Thunderbolt II' aircraft, F-111 'Aardvark' aircraft; F-15 'Eagle' aircraft; and a F-16 ' Fighting Falcon' aircraft.

KC-135 Stratotanker: Weapon System Officer's (WSO) point of view onboard a US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron (FS), showing a second F-15E refueling from a USAF 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, during a training mission conducted during Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002.KC-135 Stratotanker: Weapon System Officer's (WSO) point of view onboard a US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron (FS), showing a second F-15E refueling from a USAF 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, during a training mission conducted during Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002.

KC-135 Stratotanker: Weapon Systems Operator's point of view onboard a US Air Force (USAF) F-15D Eagle aircraft as it approaches a 22ND Air Refueling Wing (ARW) KC-135 Stratotanker, aircraft while conducting refueling operations during Exercise NORTHERN EDGE Õ02. Northern Edge '02 is an annual joint training exercise held in Alaska designed to exercise joint operations techniques, procedures and enhance interoperability among the services.KC-135 Stratotanker: Weapon Systems Operator's point of view onboard a US Air Force (USAF) F-15D Eagle aircraft as it approaches a 22ND Air Refueling Wing (ARW) KC-135 Stratotanker, aircraft while conducting refueling operations during Exercise NORTHERN EDGE Õ02. Northern Edge '02 is an annual joint training exercise held in Alaska designed to exercise joint operations techniques, procedures and enhance interoperability among the services.

KC-135 Stratotanker: Two US Air Force (USAF) F-15D Eagle aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron fly a refueling mission with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 168th Aerial Refueling Squadron (ARS) Alaskan Air National Guard (ANG) during a mission in support of Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002. The F-15D aircraft are armed with AIM-120 Advance Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles.KC-135 Stratotanker: Two US Air Force (USAF) F-15D Eagle aircraft assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron fly a refueling mission with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 168th Aerial Refueling Squadron (ARS) Alaskan Air National Guard (ANG) during a mission in support of Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2002. The F-15D aircraft are armed with AIM-120 Advance Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) squadron element of KC-135R Stratotankers, left and KC-130 Hercules cargo tanker aircraft line the runway at Lajes Field, Azores.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) squadron element of KC-135R Stratotankers, left and KC-130 Hercules cargo tanker aircraft line the runway at Lajes Field, Azores.

KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) First Lieutenant (1LT) Seann Parish, a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft Co-pilot, mans his position inside the cockpit, during a refueling mission flown in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) First Lieutenant (1LT) Seann Parish, a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft Co-pilot, mans his position inside the cockpit, during a refueling mission flown in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: Two US Air Force (USAF) F-15A Eagle aircraft from the 53rd Fighter WingÕs (FW), Test and Evaluation Squadrons (TES) fly a refueling mission with a Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft from the 916th Air Refueling Wing (AWR), during a mission to evaluate the AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range, heat-seeking air intercept missile, conducted by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Detachment 2, at Eglin AFB, Florida (FL).KC-135 Stratotanker: Two US Air Force (USAF) F-15A Eagle aircraft from the 53rd Fighter WingÕs (FW), Test and Evaluation Squadrons (TES) fly a refueling mission with a Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft from the 916th Air Refueling Wing (AWR), during a mission to evaluate the AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range, heat-seeking air intercept missile, conducted by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Detachment 2, at Eglin AFB, Florida (FL).

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) Air Mobility Command (AMC) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft from the 319th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Grand Forks Air Force Base (AFB) North Dakota (ND), lands at a forward deployed location during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) Air Mobility Command (AMC) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft from the 319th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Grand Forks Air Force Base (AFB) North Dakota (ND), lands at a forward deployed location during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 321st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), lands at a forward-deployed location in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 321st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), lands at a forward-deployed location in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 321st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), lands at a forward-deployed location in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 321st Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (ARS), lands at a forward-deployed location in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) sit ready on the flight line at a forward deployed location during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) sit ready on the flight line at a forward deployed location during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) Airmen assigned to the 34th Expeditionary Maintenance Group (EMG), prepares to launch a B-1B Lancer aircraft at a forward deployed location in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. A USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft is visible in the background.KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) Airmen assigned to the 34th Expeditionary Maintenance Group (EMG), prepares to launch a B-1B Lancer aircraft at a forward deployed location in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. A USAF KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft is visible in the background.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington, performs a fly-over in honor of Lieutenant Colonel (LCOL) Michael P. Anderson, a crew member aboard the ill fated Columbia Space Shuttle, during his funeral at the Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), Arlington, Virginia.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington, performs a fly-over in honor of Lieutenant Colonel (LCOL) Michael P. Anderson, a crew member aboard the ill fated Columbia Space Shuttle, during his funeral at the Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), Arlington, Virginia.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 940th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), assigned to the 100th ARW, Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall, United Kingdom (UK), in flight over the Adriatic Sea during a refueling mission flown in support Operation JOINT FORGE.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 940th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), assigned to the 100th ARW, Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall, United Kingdom (UK), in flight over the Adriatic Sea during a refueling mission flown in support Operation JOINT FORGE.

KC-135 Stratotanker: An US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft conducts aerial refueling with an US Navy (USN) F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, from Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3), during a mission flown in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: An US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft conducts aerial refueling with an US Navy (USN) F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, from Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3), during a mission flown in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall, United Kingdom (UK), takes off from an undisclosed location in the Eastern Mediterranean region, as it heads home, following a deployment in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall, United Kingdom (UK), takes off from an undisclosed location in the Eastern Mediterranean region, as it heads home, following a deployment in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), takes-off at Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall, England (ENG).KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), takes-off at Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall, England (ENG).

KC-135 Stratotanker: Over the Gulf of Mexico, a US Air Force (USAF) F-16C Fighting Falcon, upper right, waits while two USAF F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 58th Fighter Squadron (FS), Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, receive their gas from a KC-135R Stratotanker from MacDill AFB, Florida, during an air-to-air Weapon System Evaluation Program (WSEP) mission commonly known as Combat Archer.KC-135 Stratotanker: Over the Gulf of Mexico, a US Air Force (USAF) F-16C Fighting Falcon, upper right, waits while two USAF F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 58th Fighter Squadron (FS), Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, receive their gas from a KC-135R Stratotanker from MacDill AFB, Florida, during an air-to-air Weapon System Evaluation Program (WSEP) mission commonly known as Combat Archer.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A view from the navigator's position onboard a US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 108th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), New Jersey (NJ) Air National Guard (ANG), showing crewmember manning their position during preflight inspection on the flight line at McGuire Air Force Base (AFB), NJ. Pictured are: Major (MAJ) Rick Sampson (Pilot), Captain (CPT) Rick Kelley (Co-Pilot), and Senior Airman (SRA) Greg White (Boom Operator).KC-135 Stratotanker: A view from the navigator's position onboard a US Air Force (USAF) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 108th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), New Jersey (NJ) Air National Guard (ANG), showing crewmember manning their position during preflight inspection on the flight line at McGuire Air Force Base (AFB), NJ. Pictured are: Major (MAJ) Rick Sampson (Pilot), Captain (CPT) Rick Kelley (Co-Pilot), and Senior Airman (SRA) Greg White (Boom Operator).

KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) F-16 CJ Fighting Falcon, 77th Fighter Squadron (FS), 20th Fighter Wing (FW), Shaw Air Force Base (AFB), South Carolina (SC), wing ship refuels from a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 319th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota (ND), during a North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Operation NOBLE EAGLE mission, over New York City (NYC). The Falcon is armed with AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles, and equipped with 370-gal fuel tanks.KC-135 Stratotanker: US Air Force (USAF) F-16 CJ Fighting Falcon, 77th Fighter Squadron (FS), 20th Fighter Wing (FW), Shaw Air Force Base (AFB), South Carolina (SC), wing ship refuels from a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 319th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota (ND), during a North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Operation NOBLE EAGLE mission, over New York City (NYC). The Falcon is armed with AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles, and equipped with 370-gal fuel tanks.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), left flanked by two Royal Air Force (RAF) GR4 Tornadoes, No. 617th Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, United Kingdom (UK), during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB), Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), left flanked by two Royal Air Force (RAF) GR4 Tornadoes, No. 617th Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, United Kingdom (UK), during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A view from the rear seat of a US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle, piloted by USAF Lieutenant Colonel (LCOL) Steve Rusin, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), as he prepares to slide into position make contact with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), to refuel somewhere over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. His wingman is visible in the upper left.KC-135 Stratotanker: A view from the rear seat of a US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle, piloted by USAF Lieutenant Colonel (LCOL) Steve Rusin, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), as he prepares to slide into position make contact with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), to refuel somewhere over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. His wingman is visible in the upper left.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), flanked by a USAF F-15E Strike Eagle, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), as a USAF F-16CG-40D Fighting Falcon, 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base (AB), Italy (ITA), prepares to make contact to refuel. The airframes and crews deployed to the area in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), flanked by a USAF F-15E Strike Eagle, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), as a USAF F-16CG-40D Fighting Falcon, 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base (AB), Italy (ITA), prepares to make contact to refuel. The airframes and crews deployed to the area in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) F-15 Strike Eagle fighter, piloted by USAF Captain (CPT) Andy Poorman, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), prepares to connect and refuel from a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), somewhere over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) F-15 Strike Eagle fighter, piloted by USAF Captain (CPT) Andy Poorman, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), prepares to connect and refuel from a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), somewhere over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A view from the rear seat of a US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle, piloted by USAF Lieutenant Colonel (LCOL) Steve Rusin, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), as he prepares to make contact with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), to refuel somewhere over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A view from the rear seat of a US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle, piloted by USAF Lieutenant Colonel (LCOL) Steve Rusin, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), as he prepares to make contact with a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), to refuel somewhere over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), leads a formation composed of a USAF F-15E Strike Eagle, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), two F-16CG-40D Fighting Falcons, 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base (AB), Italy (ITA), and two Royal Air Force (RAF) GR4 Tornadoes, No. 617th Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, United Kingdom (UK). The airframes and crews deployed to the area in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker, 92nd Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Fairchild AFB, Washington (WA), 379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron (EARS), leads a formation composed of a USAF F-15E Strike Eagle, 391st Fighter Squadron (FS), Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho (ID), two F-16CG-40D Fighting Falcons, 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base (AB), Italy (ITA), and two Royal Air Force (RAF) GR4 Tornadoes, No. 617th Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, United Kingdom (UK). The airframes and crews deployed to the area in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 380th Aerial Refueling Wing (ARW) flies with a US Navy (USN) F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron 82 (VFA-82) the 'Marauders' during a refueling mission over the Persian Gulf.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 380th Aerial Refueling Wing (ARW) flies with a US Navy (USN) F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron 82 (VFA-82) the 'Marauders' during a refueling mission over the Persian Gulf.

KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Navy (USN) F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron 82 (VFA-82) the 'Marauders' conducts in flight refueling with a US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 380th Aerial Refueling Wing (ARW) over the Persian Gulf.KC-135 Stratotanker: A US Navy (USN) F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron 82 (VFA-82) the 'Marauders' conducts in flight refueling with a US Air Force (USAF) KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 380th Aerial Refueling Wing (ARW) over the Persian Gulf.

More photos: KC-135 Stratotanker photo gallery

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