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Jennings

C/KC-135 Family Tree

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Whoops, sorry about that. The "Tree" is only a Red X for me, so I didn't see it before answering.

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I've never heard of anything called (officially) a "KC-135RT" before. That would be a one-of-a-kind double suffix, and a gross misuse of the MDS system. I know for a fact that 60-0356, -0357, and -0362 are KC-135Rs plain and simple, as I've photographed them and seen their data blocks stating so. Unless this is something completely new, it's not official. Anyone got any poop on this??

J

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Jennings did you ever see one of Jim Mosely's fleet reports? I think I have one hiding around here. He tried to give the disposition of every airframe.

Tom

Edited by majortomski

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Jennings did you ever see one of Jim Mosely's fleet reports? I think I have one hiding around here. He tried to give the disposition of every airframe.

Tom

I did, and I miss Jim a lot. He died several years ago of cancer. He and I were good friends, and traded much information over the years. I have the full run of his fleet reports.

J

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You are correct, officially the term RT does not exist. The are more commonly referred to as KC-135R/AAR by most everyone else

The RT is used by crews as short for receiver/tanker since they can do both. But a "gross misuse of the MDS system", I wouldn't go that far. ;)

FYI, -0356, -0357, and -0362 are not plain KC-135Rs. They are definetly AAR, RT, or whatever.

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"gross misuse of the MDS system", I wouldn't go that far. :)

You will also note in Jennings superb lists that except for "A" no suffix letter is re used if it has been used with an MDS prefix. I recall a discussion we had in the program management office in the 80's that this was done so that if you were talking about an "E" model aircraft, it could only be a KC-E etc.

tom

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You will also note in Jennings superb lists that except for "A" no suffix letter is re used if it has been used with an MDS prefix. I recall a discussion we had in the program management office in the 80's that this was done so that if you were talking about an "E" model aircraft, it could only be a KC-E etc.

tom

Tom and Jennings,

I'm not trying to start an argument. I don't name them, I just fly on them. My intention was to let you know what they are commonly referred to and answer the initial question as their history. The Dash-1 calls them KC-135R (ARR) to signify "airplanes equipped with inflight refueling receiver systems." It goes further with an ARR B and an ARR E, but that refers to whether or not they have a nitrogen purge system. As we both acknowledged, officially there is no RT suffix. It's a crew/maintenance thing. If you say you are scheduled to fly one of the RTs, people will know what you are referring to and ask if you are the giver or taker for that sortie. :woot.gif:

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What about the RC-135E, they are not KC-135Es.

I'm only quoting policy when I left the engineering office at Tinker 21 years ago, wow where did the time go? Things more than likely have changed, Iknow even back then there were very few people who cared about little details as to what we called the airplane. I think I may have stated that the KC-135R designation didn't have anything to do with a sequence of assigning designations. KC-135R had already been used once for a hush hush radio relay airplane in the 60's. The KC-135R moniker came from the Boing -135 RE-engined proposal. We kept the R to remind the politicians that it stood for Re engined.

So I woudn't be surprise at all if my statement above is no longer valid.

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The MDS system is regularly and grossly misused. Jack Morris, then an AFSC Colonel, had to fight tooth and nail to get them to name the tankers the Saudis got KE-3As, and not KC-137Es. Had they been 707-320B airframes, that might have stuck, but they weren't. They were E-3 airframes without mission equipment to make then an AWACS. They never started out as passenger airplanes as the VC-137s did, and were built completely to military specs from the beginning. That's just one story. There are loads of others (KC-767 and F-35 pop to mind).

I wasn't aware that the crews called them KC-135RTs, but when I photographed them, their data blocks painted on the side of the nose (by the depot at Tinker) said "KC-135R". I know they're designated in other places as "KC-135R/ARR" to denote their refueling receiver capability.

As for the RC-135E, that's another area of greyness in the MDS system. She started life as a C-135B, then converted to the recce role. The RC-135D already existed (as did the RC-135S, which is another story for another day), so they went with E. There has always seemed to be inconsistency in using sequential suffix letters for a basic MDS (in this case "C-135"). Do we simply start sequentially using the alphabet starting with the first variant (KC-135A), and follow that chronologically regardless of mission, or do we allot suffixes only within a sub-family (RC's, EC's, etc)? When an airplane is delivered one way, then modified to another mission, do we add the appropriate prefix letter and keep the existing suffix letter? In that case, the Lisa Ann/Rivet Amber could have ended up being the RC-135B, except that that MDS was already taken by the bare-bones airplanes designed from the outset as recce birds (which became RC-135C when the mission equipment was installed, even though it was six years after the RC-135D went into operational service!). So in that case, should Lisa Ann have been the RC-135B or the RC-135E? As a side note, it was originally going to be called a C-135B-II!! Confused yet?? The weather birds started out life as C-135B transports just like Lisa Ann, yet they became WC-135Bs despite the fact that there was never a WC-135A. And why didn't Wanda Belle/Rivet Ball become the RC-135F? And why did the C-135Bs converted to Rivet Joints become RC-135Ms and not RC-135Gs? We had EC-135As converted from KC-135As, and KC-135Bs on the assembly line became EC-135Cs when their mission equipment was installed! Why was there no EC-135B or EC-135D, but there was an EC-135E? There was no EC-135F, but there was an EC-135G, H, J, K, and L (no M), then the EC-N, P, no Q (that was a tanker - the KC-135Q).

See how muddy this gets??

J

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another spin on the E-3 EC-137 issue. I was first assigned to support the brand new E-3 fleet, all two of them, in the summer of 77. If you find period literature from back then you will see some refs to an EC-137D for the AWACS. The story I was told is that the "-137" in any supply request form triggered an A number 1 super hyper response in the then primative logistics computers, such that the AWACS fleet was robbing the Presidiental fleet blind of parts. Thus the designation change to fool the logisics computer.

Thats my story an I'm sticken to it

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Its not really all that muddy though is it Jennings, not until you say the MDS is the only way to go.

Its muddy because people like you have above refuse to use the system as is, rather than adapting to what is.

MDS doesnt work so refusing to waver from it is where the confusion creeps in.

I mean for instance according to you all KC-135Rs are the same, but they are not are they?

You tree above makes no mention of those KC-135R models that are RT's...

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No, not all KC-135Rs are the same. There was a reconnaissance KC-135R in the late 1960s that had nothing whatever to do in any way with the KC-135R CFM-powered tanker. The MDS system is, and has been a mess.

J

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The MDS system is, and has been a mess.

J

AMEN! There are aircraft program offices that do follow the rules, then there are programs run by civilians who could care less, and they never bother to look and see if there are rules to follow.

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No, not all KC-135Rs are the same. There was a reconnaissance KC-135R in the late 1960s that had nothing whatever to do in any way with the KC-135R CFM-powered tanker. The MDS system is, and has been a mess.

J

So there seems little point sticking ridgedly to a system that doesnt work, and clearly hasnt really worked as intended for a very long time

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So there seems little point sticking ridgedly to a system that doesnt work, and clearly hasnt really worked as intended for a very long time

Sounds like some peoples' idea of presidential elections in the US :)

J

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Sounds like some peoples' idea of presidential elections in the US :worship:

J

While I agree that the MDS naming system may be somewhat flawed - all that matters right now is that the 'R' designation for the KC-135 aircraft is in reference to aircraft modified with the CFM56 or F108 engines, minus the former Q models. While the 'Q' models (now designated T) do have the same engine, their internal fuel tanks are set up very different. When they were re-engined it was decided to call them T instead of R. The ARR R models were originally different airframes converted to tankers and are basically identical except for the in flight fueling receiver capable equipment, which they deemed did not necessitate a different designation other than to refer to them as previously stated as ARR. This is how they are listed in the current official configuration list out of the KC-135 program office at Tinker.

Edited by VinnyT2

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Also - I was wondering I have a Heller KC-135 A model aircraft kit, and an Italeri KC-135 R model kit, my hope is to add to this collection with a KC-135 E model kit. Was an 'E' model kit ever produced, is it still available, and if not what is the best way to build an acurate E model aircraft? Is it possible to get an A model or R model and simply buy the correct scale TF 33 engines?

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Also - I was wondering I have a Heller KC-135 A model aircraft kit, and an Italeri KC-135 R model kit, my hope is to add to this collection with a KC-135 E model kit. Was an 'E' model kit ever produced, is it still available, and if not what is the best way to build an acurate E model aircraft? Is it possible to get an A model or R model and simply buy the correct scale TF 33 engines?

Unless you trade with someone, I don't know of any separately available TF33s.

There was an EC-135 Looking Glass variant released by AMT/Ertl in the 90s that had TF33s, so you could build a KC-135E from that kit. It's the same kit as what you already have, just with TF33s substituted, as well as some additional antennas for the Looking Glass.

HTH

Jonah

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Did the Looking Glass use the same engine struts as the E Model?

Short answer is: no. The EC-135C/J (born as KC-135Bs) had turbocompressor hoods on 1, 2, and 4, with no hood on #3. There were no KC-135Es like that. If you're talking about the AMT/Ertl kit, the TF33s in the EC and RC boxings are not correct for any EC or RC, but are correct for many KC-135Es. The kit has t/c hoods on #2 and #3 only.

J

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Seamless Suckers make a line of 1/72 TF-33 engines in resin. IIRC, with and without the generator bump.

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Seamless Suckers make a line of 1/72 TF-33 engines in resin. IIRC, with and without the generator bump.

Unfortunately he was unaware of the fact that inboard and outboard pylons are different. The inboards are much deeper (ie: the engine hangs further below the wing) than the outboards. He made all his the same. I can't recall whether they're shallow or deep, but they're all alike, so they're not really useable. I brought this to his attention at the IPMS nats in Atlanta in 2005, and his response was "Oh well, most people don't know the difference." Symptomatic of the problem in society in general these days IMHO...

J

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