KC-135 refuleing a F-16 fighter

Argentine Air Force evaluates acquisition of Boeing KC-135 tankers

Aircraft are capable of refueling F-16 fighters in flight that will be transferred by Denmark and which use the boom system

After confirming the acquisition of 24 F-16 fighters belonging to Denmark, the Argentine Air Force was faced with a problem, refueling these aircraft in flight.

Unlike the older Mirage IIIs, which were refueled by KC-130 turboprops via the hose system, the F-16s were built with receptacles for the US Air Force (USAF) boom system.

The alternative, according to the Argentine Chief of Staff, will be to acquire Boeing KC-135 jets. The information emerged during a public session in the country’s Congress that featured a presentation by the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, Nicolás José Posse.

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The government acknowledged that there are already conversations in this regard with the United States, but without detailing quantities of aircraft or values.

“The incorporation of the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft is planned as soon as this type of aircraft becomes available. To this end, administrative processes have been initiated to analyze different alternatives,” said Posse, according to Zona Militar.

Royal Danish Air Force F-16 refueling on a USAF KC-135
Royal Danish Air Force F-16 refueling on a USAF KC-135 (USAF)

Cold War veteran jet

The KC-135 Stratotanker is one of the oldest aircraft still in service with the US Air Force, having been developed from the Boeing 367-80, the prototype that also gave rise to the 707.

It entered service in 1957 at the height of the Cold War and more than 800 aircraft were manufactured until 1965. Over the years, the USAF revitalized the aircraft, which used inefficient turbojets and were replaced by the CFM-65 turbofan in part of the fleet. .

Chilean KC-135 and F-16
Chilean KC-135 and F-16

The Air Force has been replacing the KC-135 with the KC-46A Pegasus, also from Boeing, but the program is evolving slowly and it will not be surprising if the Stratotanker remains active for longer.

In addition to the United States, France, Turkey and Chile have some KC-135s. The neighboring country of Argentina has three KC-135Es that refuel Chilean F-16 fighters in the air.

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