C-135 Stratolifter

C-135 Stratolifter

infobox Aircraft
name = C-135 Stratolifter

caption = C-135C "Speckled Trout"
type = Transport aircraft
national origin = United States
manufacturer = Boeing
designer =
first flight = August 17, 1956
introduced = June 1957
retired =
status = Active service
primary user = United States Air Force
more users =
produced = 1954-1965
number built = 803
unit cost = US$39.6 million (FY98 constant dollars)
developed from = Boeing 367-80
variants with their own articles = KC-135 Stratotanker Boeing EC-135 Boeing NC-135 Boeing RC-135 OC-135B Open Skies WC-135 Constant Phoenix

The Boeing C-135 Stratolifter is a transport aircraft derived from the prototype Boeing 367-80 jet airliner (also the basis for the 707) in the early 1950s. It has a narrower fuselage and is shorter than the 707. Boeing gave the aircraft the internal designation of Model 717. [ [http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2006/july/i_history.pdf "Historical Perspective, Start of a PROUD MISSION"] , "Boeing Frontiers", July 2006.] Since the first one was built in August 1956, the C-135 has been a visible fixture of the United States Air Force.


A large majority of the 820 units were developed as KC-135A Stratotankers for mid-air refueling. However, they have also performed numerous transport and special-duty functions. Forty-five base-model aircraft were built as C-135A or C-135B transports with the tanking equipment excluded.


Fifteen C-135As, powered by J57 turbojets, were built. In later years, almost all were upgraded with TF33 turbofan engines and wide-span tail planes, and were re-designated C-135E. Later on most of the C-135Es were re-engined again, using the more powerful turbofan engine, the CFM-56-2A.


Thirty C-135Bs were built with the TF33 turbofans and wide-span tail planes from the start, and a small number remain in service in their original form. A number of these were modified for a weather reconnaissance (flying through radioactive clouds from nuclear tests or other agents) role and designated WC-135B.


The C-135C designation applies to three WC-135B weather reconnaissance aircraft, which reverted to transport status. Most of the other C-135Bs were converted to various special mission variants following their service with the Military Airlift Command.

Although most of the remaining C-135 aircraft are used for transporting senior military leaders and other high-ranking dignitaries, the C-135C communications aircraft serves as an aerial test-bed for emerging technologies. Developmental tests using this aircraft have demonstrated the capability to fly precision approaches using a local area differential GPS system. This modified C-135 has been fitted with a millimeter wave camera and a radome to test the camera’s generation of video images of the forward scene in low-visibility conditions. The aircraft, which in the VIP/Distinguished Visitor (DV) transport role seats 14 passengers, also gives a Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) a limited ability to plan and control the simulated battle while in the air enroute to the crisis area.

peckled Trout

Speckled Trout is the official name of a combined SAF/CSAF support mission and concurret test mission. It was also the official nickname given to a modified C-135C, AF Ser. No. 61-2669, that was used by the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force for executive transport requirements. Fully equipped with an array of communications equipment, data links and cryptographic sets, the aircraft served a secondary role as a testbed for proposed command and control systems and was also used to evaluate future transport aircraft design. The 412th Flight Test Squadron (412 FLTS) of the Air Force Material Command (AFMC) at Edwards AFB, California operated the C-135 Speckled Trout airframe and managed its test mission.

The name "Speckled Trout" applies to both the organization and the aircraft. The name was chosen in honor of an early program monitor, Faye Trout, who assisted in numerous phases of the project. The word "speckled" was added because Trout apparently had "a lot of freckles."

Speckled Trout acquired the C-135C, AF Ser. No. 61-2669, in 1974 and retired the aircraft on 13 Jan 2006. An interim aircraft was in use for the Speckled Trout mission until the 2008 delivery of the current aircraft, a modified KC-135R Stratotanker with a more modern communications architecture testbed. The current KC-135R Speckled Trout also supports additional tests and air refueling requirements that the C-135C could not. [ [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123016232 Air Force article on Speckled Trout retirement] ]


The C-135F were new-build aircraft used by France as dual-role tanker/cargo and troop carrier aircraft.DoD 4120.14L, "Model Designation of Military Aerospace Vehicles", May 12, 2004]


* C-135A :
* C-135B :
* C-135C :
* C-135E :
* C-135F :
* C-135R :

pecifications (C-135)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet


crew=3: pilot, copilot, boom operator (4 for non-PACER CRAG aircraft)
payload main=
payload alt=
length main=136 ft 3 in
length alt=41.53 m
span main=130 ft 10 in
span alt=39.88 m
height main=41 ft 8 in
height alt=12.70 m
area main=2,433 ft²
area alt=226 m²
empty weight main=98,466 lb
empty weight alt=44,663 kg
operating empty main=124,000 lb
operating empty alt=56,200 kg
loaded weight main=297,000 lb
loaded weight alt=135,000 kg
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main=322,500 lb
max takeoff weight alt=146,000 kg
more general=

engine (jet)=(R/T) CFM International CFM-56 turbofan engines, 21,634 lbf (96 kN) each}
*Powerplant: 4× (E) Pratt & Whitney TF-33-PW-102 turbofan engines
type of jet=
number of jets=4
thrust main=18,000 lbf
thrust alt=80 kN
thrust original=
afterburning thrust main=
afterburning thrust alt=
engine (prop)=
type of prop=
number of props=
power main=
power alt=
power original=

max speed main=580 mph
max speed alt=933 km/h
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
range main=3,450 mi
range alt=5,550 km
ceiling main=50,000 ft
ceiling alt=15,200 m
climb rate main=4,900 ft/min
climb rate alt=1,490 m/min
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=



ee also

* Boeing 367-80
* KC-135 Stratotanker
* Boeing EC-135
* Boeing NC-135
* Boeing RC-135
* OC-135B Open Skies
* WC-135 Constant Phoenix
* C-137 Stratoliner
* Boeing 707

similar aircraft=
* Douglas DC-8

see also=


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