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KC-135 Stratotanker Photography   Armée de l'air - Air to Air
Air to Air Photography
Flying with the Armée de l'air
Boeing C-135FR Stratotanker
Base Aérienne 125 Istres-Le Tubé - GRV 02.091
Boeing C-135FR (736 '93-CH')
Left to right: C-135FRs (736 '93-CH', 497 '93-CM' and 739 '93-CK') of GRV 02.091 'Bretagne' based at Istres.
The Boeing C-135FR Stratotanker is equipped with a centreline mounted flyable boom with a Boom Drogue Adapter (BDA) which can be set for probe equipped aircraft. Two wing mounted FRL (Flight Refuelling Limited now Cobham) Mk.32B air-to-air refuelling pods are also fitted.
Left to right: C-135FRs (525 '93-CN', 471 '93-CB', 472 '93-CC' and 497 '93-CM') of GRV 02.091 'Bretagne' based at Istres.
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Left to right: C-135FRs (736 '93-CH', 471 '93-CB', 525 '93-CN' and 497 '93-CM') of GRV 02.091 'Bretagne' based at Istres.
Left to right: C-135FR (739 '93-CK') of GRV 02.091 'Bretagne' based at Istres.
Pre-flight briefing; Capitain (Cne) Christoffe Gester advised we were to fly Axis 'Simon' near to Avord which was our diversion airfield. Start up was to be 07:10, taxi 07:20 and take off at 07:30 (08:30 zulu). The first aircraft to be refuelled would arrive at 09:30. We woule arrive at 'Simon' 15 minutes beforehand to check weather (base level of cloud) and to choose the flight level for the refuelling. The last aircraft refuelled is at 11:15. Two aircraft will stay for test for which we flew from 'Simon' to St.Dizier to rendezvous with the two Mirage 2000Cs which were to intercept and escort us for 30 minutes.
Left to right: Mirage 2000N (361 '125-CK' and 354 '125-BJ') from EC 02.004 based at Istres (BA 125) and Mirage F.1CR (604 '118-CF') now based at Mont de Marsan (BA 118).
The WSO has no role at all during AAR apart from radio comms if the pilot is busy. Lowest level for AAR 10,000 feet. They are trained for slow tankers ie C-160 Transall and C-130 Hercules when they can go as low as 10,000 feet. Usually 16,000 to 17,000 feet any higher it is harder for us to maintain the low speed at 250 knots which is very slow for the aircraft and they will need an high angle of attack of 5-10 degrees, for the C-135 they do not need an angle of attack.
Mirage 2000C (96 '115-KI') receiving fuel from C-135FR (739 '93-CK').
Left to right: Mirage 2000C (96 '115-KI') with EC 02.005 at Orange (BA 115).
Left to right: Dassault Rafale C (134 '118-GM') from EC 02.030 'Normandie Niémen' based at Mont de Marsan (BA 118).
Mirage 2000B (529 '115-OC') with EC 02.005 at Orange (BA 115).