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Turkish Air Force tanker modernisation effort completed ahead of schedule

2nd February 2023 - 12:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


Field Aerospace has modified seven KC-135Rs to Block 45 standard for Turkey, in addition to 17 for the USAF. (Photo: Field Aerospace)

US contractor Field Aerospace has finished upgrading the Turkish Air Force's Boeing KC-135R tanker fleet flight decks to Block 45 configuration.

Field Aerospace announced on 30 January that it had completed work on the Turkish Air Force KC-135 Block 45 modification programme, contracted via the KC-135 FMS Program Office. The programme finished one year ahead of schedule. The first aircraft was handed back to Turkey in 2021.

The Block 45 modification removes the aircraft's legacy autopilot system, flight director, engine analogue gauges, and radio altimeter, replacing them with a dual autopilot and flight director system, new radio altimeter, and new engine display. 

This effort covered modifications to seven KC-135 aircraft and work was completed in December 2022.

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Field had previously carried out prototype Block 45 modifications on two USAF KC-135 tankers and installed the modification on an initial 15 Block 45 Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft.

'Our team applied lessons learned from our prior experience performing this modification on the USAF KC-135 fleet to the Turkish KC-135 programme, resulting in an efficient and well executed programme,' stated Ed Williams, Field Aerospace programme manager.

Shephard Defence Insight lists the out-of-service date for Turkey's KC-135 fleet as 2030, and the Turkish Air Force has no known formal requirement to replace the aircraft.

The Shephard News Team


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