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C-135 Recent History Page

Presidential Plane Rivet Presidential Plane
KC-135 tankers of the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron have flown 40,000 over Southwest Asia.
RC-135 Rivet Joint flew over 10,218 sorties in Southwest Asia. They have flown continuous combat operations for 24 years.
E-8 JSTARS logged over 1,000,000 combat hours over the Middle East.
KC-135s have logged over 100,000 hours in support of operations in Yemen.
& KC-135 Stratotanker crews were awarded 7 Distinguished Flying Crosses for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom
Aircraft Numbers Comments
750 KC-135, Republic of Singapore Air Force, Flew Operation Enduring Freedom missions
10288 KC-135, Flew Operation Enduring Freedom missions
15473 KC-135, Flew Operation Enduring Freedom missions
90442 AWACS, Flew Operation Noble Eagle missions
57-1429 Flew over 10,000 flight hours on deployments. Served in Operation Desert Storm. Scheduled to go to the Museum of the Kansas National Guard
57-2603 flew Drew Carey and has Spirit of 9-11 Emblem
60-0362 Rivet Brass
61-2669 C-135 nicknamed "Speckled Trout" officially retired on February 10, 2006 after 31 years of service.
80102 Flew Operation Iraqi Freedom missions
0119 KC-135 flew Inherent Resolve missions. Kept refueling an F-16 so it didn't run out of fuel over ISIS territory.
0132 RC-135 Rivet Joint, first C-135 to reach the 50,000 hours mark. Reached the 50,000 milestone on an Operation Enduring Freedom mission. It has also flow missions in Vietnam, operations Southern and Northern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom.
3554 KC-135 - Flew 4 med-evac missions in Afghanistan.
4839 KC-135 - Flew Operation Odyssey Dawn missions
02-9111 JSTARS completed over 40,000 hours Flying OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM missions.
23541 Flew OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM missions.
91464 KC-135 refueled an F/A-18 on January 7, 2004, during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
91488 Serving in Southwest Asia
970200 JSTAR, Flew Operation Iraqi Freedom missions
4132 RC-135 Rivet Joint, Flew Operation Iraqi Freedom missions
4135 RC-135 Rivet Joint, Flew Operation Iraqi Freedom missions
125 RC-135 Rivet Joint, flew Operation Iraqi Freedom missions
72605 Flew Operation Iraqi Freedom missions and had the "Let's Roll" emblem.
2-1109 E-3D RAF
1505, 398th AEG C-135
A KC-135R involved in Operation Enduring Freedom is named Holy Terror III


22nd Air Refueling Wing flew over 3,000 sorties and 29,170 hours.
July 10, 2011 - An E-3D Sentry coordinated the rescue effort of a ship in distress that had 60 people on board.
April 2011 - E-8 JSTARS & RC-135s supported operations against Lybia.
March 2011 - A French E-3 is supported French aircraft operations against Lybia.
March 2011 - A USAF KC -135 flew refueling missions during strikes against Lybia.


A USAF AWACS relayed target information sent by a UK Commando team. A US Reaper destroyed the target, a building with an ISIS leader inside.
The 340th flew 116 sorties and refueled 491 aircraft during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
KC-135s of the 28th Expeditionary Squadron refueled aircraft.
November 21, 2015 - An E-3G Sentry joined the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and flew a combat sortie.
November 28, 2014 - A C135-FR refueled three Mirage 2000Ds on their flight to Jordan.
October - November 15, 2014 - E3Fs flew missions over Iraq.
October 24, 2014 - An RAF Rivet Joint aircraft supported operations against ISIL forces.
October 19, 2014 - French C135-FRs refueled two Rafale fighters and Atlantique 2 aircraft.
October 2, 2014 - USAF C-135Ds refueled two Rafale fighters as they flew a mission supporting Iraqi ground forces.
September 25, 2014 - A French C135-FR refueled two Rafale fighters 4 times as they carried out a strike mission.
September 21, 2014 - French C135-FRs refueled Rafale fighters as they carried out a reconnaissance mission.
September 19, 2014 - A French C135-FR tanker refueled Rafale fighters as they carried out a strike mission.
August 11, 2014 - A KC-135 flew a refueling mission.
A Sentry provided Airborne Control for the September 5, 2002 mission.
Sentries flew 14 sorties and 173 hours with no aborts when they supported a metting between a US envoy and Iraqi opposition leaders.
April 4, 2003 - At RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus a ground accident with a KC-135 of the 100th ARW caused $2.1M damage to the aircraft.


September 3, 2015 - A KC-135R of the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled an F-16.
E-3s flew continuous operations over South West Asia for 13 years.
NATO E-3 AWACS flew 1,250 sorties and 14,000 flying hours. They directed 25,650 combat aircraft.
January - February 2013 - KC-135s of the French and U.S. Air Forces flew refueling missions over Mali.
December 30, 2011 - A KC-135 & an E-3 AWACS helped rescue two Apache crew members.
February 2010 - E-3s supported Avalanche relief operations.
August 31, 2006 - An RC-135 participated in the Search and Recovery of a crashed RNAF F-16.
The first all female crew on a combat air refueling mission offloaded 63,000 lbs. of fuel and refueled 10 European F-16s over Afghanistan. The crew were members of the 376th EARS.
KC-135s delivered 11 millions pounds of fuel to B-52s in six weeks.
E-8C and RC-135 aircraft supported Pakistani forces during Operation Vengance, March 2004.
June 2005 - 340th EARS flew 345 Missions, dispensed 20 million pounds of fuel to 1,937 aircraft and had a mission effective rate of 99%.
March 2006 - An RC-135 supported ground forces in Asadabad.
A KC-135 med-evaced George Benson, 2nd mate on the USN Watson, who lost a leg in an accident.
RAF Sentry's started flying AWACS missions on October 9, 2001.
E-3s have been flying support for the C-17s that have been dropping ration packages.
KC-135s refueled the C-17s on their ration dropping missions.
KC-135s have refueled C-5s and Rivet Joint aircraft in support of Enduring Freedom
KC-135Rs have refueled C-130s on humanitarian flights.
An E-3D flew a 14.5 hour mission on January 4, 2002.
A Boeing 707 carried former Afghan king Mohammed Zahir Shah and his entourage out of Italy.
Royal Australian Air Force tankers refueled US Navy aircraft.
A Turkish Air Force KC-135 refueled a C-17 on June 12, 2002.
The 100th ARW started fueling operations for C-17s on July 8, 2002. The unit has flown over 67 refueling missions and passed over 1.7 million pounds of fuel.
Singapore KC-135s are flew refueling missions.
The 319th Air Expeditionary Group flew its 1,000th refueling sortie. It refueled 3,500 aircraft. (January 17, 2002)
The 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron flew 1,000 sorties and delivered 5 million pounds of fuel.
376th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron had a 100% mission capable rate from August 25, 2003 - September 10, 2003.
E-3s of the 363rd flew 67 Operation Southern Watch and 277 Operation Iraqi Freedom missions.
KC-135s of the 900th Expeditionary Air Refueling Wing refueled aircraft as part of Operation Northern Watch.
A Sentry directed an F-16 to an attack on a vehicle.
May 13, 2009 - Human error caused a reptured fuel tank in an E-8 JSTARS fuel tank causing $25M in damage.
September 26, 2006 - A KC-135 caught fire after returning from a mission.
August 4, 2003 - lightning damaged a KC-135 "Shell 02".
May 3, 2013 - A KC-135 crashed in northern Kyrgyzstan.
Operation Noble Endeavor
KC-135s & E-3s participated in providing security for the NATO summit in Romania, 2008.
10 October, 2001 - 5 NATO AWACS flew to the US to fly AWACS missions of the US. A Boeing 707 flew the crew members and support personnel to the US.
E3-As have flown over 500 sorties. E3-As supported strike aircraft during a successful attack on an SA-6 site. An AWACS directed a USAF F-16 to a MiG-29 which it shot down.
RAF E3-D Sentry's have flown over 90 sorties during Operation Allied Force.
A USAF KC-135 refueled two A-10s in an area where the KC-135 could be subject to air-air and ground-air threats. This mission was in support of the rescue operation for the downed F-117A pilot.
A Dutch 707 flew in 37 tons of supplies


January 25, 2016 - Two Russian Su-27s disturbed the controllability of a RC-135.
April 7, 2015 - A Russian Su-27 flew within 20' of an RC-135 over the Baltic Sea.
March 2, 2003 - Four North Korean fighters (2 MiG-29s & 2 MiG-23s) shadowed an RC-135S "Cobra Ball" for 20 minutes. One of the North Korean fighters locked on to the RC-135. The RC-135S broke off its mission.


December 2021 - An E-8C flew a reconnaissance mission over eastern Ukraine.
February 11, 2017 - A KC-135 coordinated the rescue of 14 people stranded off the British coast.
January 2016 - A WC-135 will check the area around North Korea for signs of a thermonuclear explosion.
March 2014 - NATO E-3s monitored Russian movements in the Ukraine.
July 22, 2012 - A KC-135 assisted in the rescue of an F-16 pilot who crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
2011 - A WC-135 supported the earthquake relief effort in Japan. The WC-135 flew over 51,000 nautical miles.
February 2010 - E-3s supported the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.
April 6, 2009 - A KC-135 refueled two F-16s as the F-16s trailed a Cessna 172 that was stolen in Canada.
April 5, 2009 - A KC-135 transported kidnap victim and UK worker John Solecki, from Pakistan to Ramstein AB, Germany.
July 2006 - KC-135s supported the evacuation of U.S. Civilians from Lebanon.
February 2006 - Two RAF Sentry aircraft provided surveillance during the 2006 Winter Olympics at Torino, Italy.
January 17, 2006 - A KC-135 remained in contact with the pilot of a crashed F-15 (78-498) until the pilot was rescued.
June 7, 2016 - A Chinese Air Force J-10 approached an RC-135 in an unsafe manner.
April 29, 2015 - A KC-135 had a flight control-related malfunction and landed at RAF Mildenhall, England.
July 18, 2014 - A RC-135, flying in international airspace, flew away when it found it was being tracked by Russian land based radar and a Russian fighter was flying on an intercept course. The RC-135 overflew Swedish airspace.
August 28, 2009 - An E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system aircraft was damaged while landing at Nellis Air Force Base.
May 15, 2005 - Air turbulance caused injuries to 38 passengers, including a soldier who was paralyzed aboard a KC-135R.
A NATO AWACS monitored the airspace over Rome during the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
RC-135s flew reconnaissance misssions against possible threats to the 2004 Olympics.
A KC-135 of the 305th Rescue Squadron flew relief supplies for Hurricane Frances victims to Georgia.
KC-135 flew Tsunami relief missions, December 2004.

There were no USAF C-135 Class A mishaps in FY-2002. There was one USAF C-135 Class A mishap in FY-2003.
In FY-2004 there was a KC-135 Class A mishap. In FY-2005 there were no C-135 Class A mishaps.
Mission-Capable Rates 2005: E-3 - 81%; KC-135R - 77.3%; KC-135E - 71.1%

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Send questions or comments to: Robert Sacchi