A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refuels a group of EA-18G Growler aircraft during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Comprised of active-duty, Guard and Reserve aircrew service members, the men and women of the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron help project combat power by providing agile, effective air refueling to a variety of aircraft ranging from bombers, reconnaissance, fighters, and cargo aircraft.
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft. Both the KC-135 and the Boeing 707 airliner were developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype. It is the predominant variant of the C-135 Stratolifter family of transport aircraft. The KC-135 was the US Air Force’s first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratofreighter. The KC-135 was initially tasked with refueling strategic bombers, but was used extensively in the Vietnam War and later conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm to extend the range and endurance of US tactical fighters and bombers.
The KC-135 entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1957; it is one of six military fixed-wing aircraft with over 50 years of continuous service with its original operator. The KC-135 is supplemented by the larger KC-10. Studies have concluded that many of the aircraft could be flown until 2040, although maintenance costs have greatly increased. The aircraft will eventually be replaced by the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus.
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