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C-135 Variants - Part 3

by Jennings Heilig


RC-135M Rivet Card, 62-4131,
55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Offutt AFB, Nebraska, December, 1978


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Here are four more colour profiles of C-135 variants prepared in Illustrator:

1. RC-135M Rivet Card, 62-4131, 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Offutt AFB, Nebraska, December, 1978 (title image)

The RC-135Ms did yeoman service from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. They were initially assigned to Yokota AB, Japan (detached to Kadena AB,
Okinawa) for duty in Vietnam. Later, they were reassigned to the 55th SRW at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Beginning in 1979, all six RC-135M airframes were updated to become RC-135Ws, and they continue in service today.


2. C-135B, 61-2663, 1611th Air Transport Wing, McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1963


This was one of 30 C-135Bs delivered to MATS as a stopgap prior to the initial deliveries of the C-141 Starlifter. This particular airframe was delivered to the USAF in March of 1962. In 1966 it was one of the first VIP modified C-135Bs assigned to Andrews AFB, Maryland. Later it became a testbed with Air Force Systems Command, and following the loss of the RC-135S Rivet Ball in 1969, it was converted to an RC-135S, becoming Cobra Ball I. It continues in service today as an RC-135S.


3. C-135B T/RIA, 62-4128, 4950th Test Wing, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, 1971

Along with the EC-135N ARIAs (Apollo Range Instrumented Aircraft), four C-135Bs were modified into the C-135B Telemetry/Range Instrumented Aircraft configuration in 1967. They participated in various Air Force Eastern Test Range programs from Patrick AFB, Florida until the early 1970s, when they were transferred to the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. '128 continued in use for various test programs until the mid-80s when it was converted to the single RC-135X Cobra Eye.


4. EC-135A, 61-0278, 4th Airborne Command & Control Squadron, 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, 1987

Initially used in the Looking Glass airborne command post role, the EC-135As were later transferred to the role of Airborne Launch Control Center. This aircraft was assigned to the 4th ACCS of the 28th Bomb Wing, and displays the mid-1980s tail colors mirroring the design of the 28th's wing badge.


Text and Images Copyright 2002 by Jennings Heilig
Page Created 22 September, 2002
Last updated 22 September, 2002

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