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Boeing | Design Innovations | Project Methodologies | Project Successes | Specialty Aircraft | Testing & Evaluation | USA

KC-135 Design Innovation Could Save $583M

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KC-135 with refuellingboom extended(via After years of development, a new wheel and brake system on the KC-135 “Stratotanker” is ready for installation by Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center personnel at Tinker Air Force Base, OK. The system replaces the steel brakes currently used on the KC-135 with carbon brakes (the KC-135 is based on the Boeing 707, but the planes have been heavily modified over the years). Other changes include the brakes operating on three rotors instead of five, a pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi) instead of 965 psi and different wheels used on the aircraft. At a time cost of 16 hours for initial installation, the new system allows the aircraft to complete 1,000 landings as compared to 100 landings before needing replacement, which means the new system could last up to 10 years instead of the average one-year lifespan of the old brakes. The changes could save the Air Force $583 million throughout the life of the program, said Cathy Klea, 327th TSG KC-135 program manager. The Wheel and Brake System Improvement (WBSI) Program originated from the invention of the carbon brake, in 1968, by the French aerospace company Messier-Bugatti, but, according to the […]

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