View Full Version : 80 Year Old Aircraft

05-28-2014, 08:32 PM
I've been away for a while, but for good reason. I am now in the realm of terminal leave for retirement. I haven't got my Blue ID yet, but soon. What brought me back was a local news article in the Dayton Daily News. Wright-Patterson AFB is hosting about 16 KC-135 tankers from Indiana while that Guard unit updates their flight-line. We've hosted planes before since we have the space. Anyway, what caught my eye was the profile on one of the tankers. In the paper, the reporter stated the one plane was originally built in 1964. There was mention of the new tanker replacing it, blah, blah, blah, however the Air Force was going to keep the KC-135 in service until 2045. Does this sound right? I know the planes undergo major retrofits with systems and all that, but to keep an air frame in service for that long doesn't sound right. Every year we have to go through the arduous process of forecasting budgeting for equipment where we evaluate shelf-life, cost replacement and all that nonsense, so the bean counters must have done the same with the KC-135 and figured it was cheaper to update the existing model versus building new ones. Is there anyone out there that knows if this is the case?

05-29-2014, 05:37 PM
the plane is a workhorse and never has issues. May as well keep it flying, we cannot afford anything else at the moment

06-01-2014, 04:08 PM
The 135 has been updated quite a bit over its lifespan. It is not going anywhere, the new tanker is not operational yet and there are too many KC135 bases in too many states, which means it has a lot of Congressmen/women backing it. The KC-10 will probably be the next to go, once the KC-46 is up and running. We escaped sequestration this time around, but who knows about next year and the years after. There are only 59 of them on two bases which makes it an easy target. It doesn't really matter to leadership that they have no replacement for its capabilities; there is no other tanker that can take a fighter package, such as 6 F22's or F15's over the ocean like it can. It is being viewed in dollar signs, just like everything else in the USAF.