Military Tankers

KC-10   KC-130   KC-135



The KC-10s can carry more than 356,000 pounds of jet fuel, which it delivers through a boom to aircraft in flight at a rate of 470 gallons per minute. It costs $86.3 million per plane, carries a crew of four, and can fly at 619 mph.

KC-10 Extender

Primary function: Aerial tanker and transport

Speed: 619 mph (Mach 0.825)

Crew: Four (aircraft commander, pilot, flight engineer and boom operator)

Prime Contractor: The Boeing Company

Power Plant: Three General Electric CF6-50C2 turbofans

Thrust: 52,500 pounds (23,625 kilograms), each engine

Length: 181 feet, 7 inches (54.4 meters)

Height: 58 feet, 1 inch (17.4 meters)

Wingspan: 165 feet, 4.5 inches (50 meters)

Ceiling: 42,000 feet (12,727 meters)

Maximum Takeoff Weight: 590,000 pounds

Range: 4,400 miles (3,800 nautical miles) with cargo; 11,500 miles (10,000 nautical miles) without cargo

Maximum Cargo Payload: 170,000 pounds (76,560 kilograms)

Pallet Positions: 27

Maximum Fuel Load: 356,000 pounds (160,200 kilograms)

Unit Cost: $86.3 million

Date Deployed: March 1981

Inventory: Active force, 59; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0



The KC-130 Hercules is a multi-role, multi-mission tactical tanker/transport primarily used for in-flight refueling by Marine Air Ground Task Forces. These versatile aircraft can also perform rapid ground refueling and aerial delivery of troops and cargo, tactical insertion of combat troops and equipment and evacuation missions.

KC-130 Hercules


Primary function: In-flight refueling; tactical transport

Speed: 362 mph

Maximum transfer jet fuel load: 66,190 lbs. to 86,320 lbs. (varies with tanker)

Crew: 2 pilots, 1 navigator/systems operator, 1 flight engineer, 1 first mechanic, 1 loadmaster

Builder: Lockheed

Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-16 engines

Thrust: 4,910 shaft horsepower each engine

Length: Aircraft: 97 feet, 9 inches (22.16 meters). 

Height: Aircraft: 38 feet, 4 inches (11.68 meters), 

Cargo compartment 9 feet (2.74 meters)

Wing span: 132 feet, 7 inches (40.39 meters)

Cargo compartment: 41 feet (12.49 meters)

Width of Cargo compartment: 10 feet, 3 inches (3.12 meters)

Range: Tanker mission: 1,000 nautical mile (1150 mile) radius with 45,000 pounds of fuel (20,430 kilograms) (KC-130R/T) Cargo mission: 2,875 nautical miles (3,306.25 miles) with 38,258 pounds (17,369 kilograms) of cargo (KC-130R/T) or 92 combat troops or 64 paratroopers or 74 litters.

Ceiling: 30,000 feet (9,140 meters)

Maximum takeoff weight: 175,000 pounds (79,450 kilograms)

Unit Replacement Cost: $37,000,000

Inventory: Active: 37 KC-130Fs and 14 KC-130Rs (51 total) Reserve: 24 KC-130Ts


Flight Test with AAR-44 ECM Video

MC-130 Video



KC-135 Stratotanker


Primary function: Aerial refueling and airlift

Speed: 530 mph

Maximum transfer jet fuel load: 200,000 lbs.

Crew: Four and aircraft equipped with PACER CRAG do not have a navigator on most missions. The Air Force procured a limited number of navigator suites that can be installed for unique missions.




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