Meta Aerospace announced that following its recently consummated purchase agreement with The Government of the Republic of Singapore, it has now taken delivery of the first of four former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) KC-135R aircraft and successfully ferried the aircraft to March Air Reserve Base, with the remaining three aircraft scheduled for delivery in October and November 2020. Republic of Singapore Air Force operated 4 former USAF KC-135R tankers; they were occasionally used as VIP, aeromedical transports and military support. With its extensive defense-as-a-service offerings and air mobility experience, this addition of four KC-135R aircraft enables Meta to deliver turnkey aerial refueling services.
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft that was developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype, alongside the Boeing 707 airliner. 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 it 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 RSAF acquired a fleet of KC-135 tankers from the USA in 1997. Originally built as the KC-135A for the United States Air Force, these aircraft were refurbished and modified into the KC-135R Stratotankers. The oldest of the KC-135As was built in 1959, qualifying it to be part of the Merdeka Generation! Yet with a quick upgrade, they were mission ready – equipped with reliable and fuel-efficient CFM56 engines, along with the Boeing-developed Multi-Point Refuelling System that provided the flexibility to refuel both probe-equipped and receptacle-equipped aircraft receivers on the same mission. These upgraded KC-135Rs were delivered by Boeing to the RSAF’s Peace Guardian Detachment in McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas.
There are now two companies flying boom-equipped tankers, which are rare assets in the private sector that look set to be increasingly in demand. Meta Aerospace has partnered in its private aerial refueling endeavors with Consolidated Air Support Systems (CASS), another aerospace contractor headquartered in Temecula, California. CASS’ Allied Defense Services International (ADSI) division provides tanker-related training services, among others, to various air forces. Meta is headquartered in Washington D.C., with over 600 domain experts spread across its portfolio in the U.S., United Kingdom, and the EU.