Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CQ Plane Spotting Historic Spot - Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker '750'

While I've been away on holidays, I've struggled with ideas of easily accessible information and images for this month's Historic Spot.  But searching through my computer I've found some nice images taken by Rocky plane spotter Ben O from November 2005 of the first and only visit to Rockhampton Airport of a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker aerial refuelling aircraft.

This particular KC-135 - RSAF serial number '750' - touched down at Rockhampton during November 2005, and reportedly accompanied the first ever deployment of RSAF General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin) F-16 fighter jets to Rocky during the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby.

The KC-135 is similar in appearance to the 707, but has a narrower fuselage and is shorter than the 707. The KC-135 pre-dates the 707, and is structurally quite different from the civilian airliner. In fact, Boeing gave the future KC-135 tanker the initial designation Model 717.

Perhaps the most notable feature of '750' is that the aircraft has CFM-56 engines.  All KC-135s were originally equipped with Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-59W turbojet engines.  During a second engine modification program, some 500 aircraft were re-engined with new CFM International CFM-56 engines produced by General Electric and Snecma.  The CFM-56 turbofans are capable of producing nearly a 100% increase in thrust compared to the original J-57 engines. The re-engined tankers were designated either the KC-135R (modified KC-135A or E) or KC-135T (modified KC-135Q).

Sadly, since 2005, RSAF KC-135s that have accompanied the RSAF deployment of F-16s to Rockhampton have landed at either RAAF Base Amberley and RAAF Base Darwin.

Thanks Ben for your assistance with preparing this Historic Spot!

All photos taken by Ben O'Dowd  ©

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