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Air Force seeks to replace OC and WC-135

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posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 05:20 PM
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The Air Force is seeking $430M to replace two WC-135 and two OC-135 aircraft. The WC-135s would be replaced by three KC-135Rs that have been retired from Air Force service. Modifications would start in September of next year, at the same facility that upgrades the RC-135. The OC-135 aircraft would be replaced by two commercial derivative aircraft, possibly 737s.

Both types of aircraft have some of the worst reliability records in the Air Force, but at the same time, the most important missions. The WC-135s are used to monitor airborne radiation levels, and detect nuclear tests. The OC-135s are used for Open Skies missions over Russia. The current OC-135s are still using wet film cameras, while the other signatories have moved on to newer airframes and digital cameras.


The Air Force is seeking $430 million to pay for five aircraft to replace Offutt-based planes that were built in the 1960s and lately have been plagued by maintenance difficulties.

The Trump administration’s 2019 budget request includes $222 million to buy two new small airliners and equip them with cameras that allow the U.S. to photograph military facilities in Russia and other countries as part of the Open Skies Treaty.

The budget request also includes $208 million to convert three KC-135R aerial-refueling tankers into “Constant Phoenix” jets capable of detecting and identifying fallout from nuclear explosions in North Korea or elsewhere.

All five new and reconditioned jets would fall under the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base.

www.omaha.com...




posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 05:29 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So I know we are treaty bound to run those open skies flights. Do we really gain anything from them considering the quality of satellite imagery these days? It's not like its time sensitive intel so what could the 135 do that a sat could not? I definitely agree we need a balance between ISR aircraft and satellites, but I prefer my ISR capability to be nearly invisible or to go slightly faster than a 135 can.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 05:39 PM
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a reply to: Bfirez

It's not ISR capability, it's treaty verification capability. Open Skies is to verify things like defueling of missiles, dismantling of weapons, etc. Satellites aren't capable of imaging that level of detail as they go overhead, and they can't loiter and monitor it being done.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:02 PM
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Time to change these suckers out for sure. I can see the 737 platform for sure as its got about the same range as the platform they are flying.



posted on Apr, 26 2018 @ 06:18 PM
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a reply to: FredT

That's what I was thinking. They'll have parts and support commonality with the C-40s, so they won't need a new parts stockpile, they'll already have a depot facility, etc.



posted on May, 13 2018 @ 09:20 PM
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I'm not going to say what I think about certain gentlemen from Texas, because it would be a T&C violation.

OC-135 replacement funding cut.



posted on May, 15 2018 @ 03:58 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

It isn't the right of "he who shall not be named" to unilaterally decide to end the OpenSkies flights. (Assuming I understand the article.) Also in the scheme of things, replacing these old planes is chump change.




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