Limited Edition: $145 22x19”
Artist Proof Edition: $250
L/e with Remarque: $245
A/p with Remarque: $ 345
Giclee Canvas: $395
It’s getting late in the day on a crisp, autumn day. A farmer is harvesting his soybeans and deer season is right around the corner. Descending into all of the activity is a Boeing KC-135 on short final with her crew setting up the jet for a “touch and go.”
The venerable KC-135 Stratotanker entered USAF service in 1957 and for over 60 years has been the backbone of the critical aerial refueling mission. Designed by Boeing, the KC-135 is a cousin of the Boeing 707, which served the commercial airline industry for decades. The KC-135 is similar in appearance to the 707, but has a narrower fuselage and is shorter than the 707.
The first KC-135’s to enter service were delivered to Castle Air Force Base in June of 1957 and eventually over 800 KC-135A’s were produced with the final airplane delivered to the Air Force in 1965.
The original KC-135 “A” model was powered by 4, Pratt and Whitney J-57 engines. Each J-57 developed 10,000 lbs. of thrust. In the 1980’s 150 aircraft, designated “E” models, were refitted with Pratt and Whitney JT3D engines which increased the thrust to 17,000 lbs. per engine and dramatically increased the jet’s mission performance. The final engine modification was to convert 500 tankers to the General Electric CFM56 high-bypass turbofan, which produced 22,000 lbs., of thrust, further increasing the performance and capability of the Stratotanker. This new “R” model has a maximum takeoff weight of 322,500 lbs. and can offload 200,000 lbs. of fuel or approximately 31,000 gallons.
The KC-135 is the unsung hero of the USAF over the last 60 years. Without the Stratotanker and the multiple generations of crews who’ve flown her, it would have beenimpossible for the USAF to project it’s operational reach worldwide. The KC-135 is not only relevant for today but Air Force life cycle estimates show that some current KC-135’s may serve up to 2040!