100 ARW receives Block 45 KC-135

The 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, has received its first KC-135R Block 45 Stratotanker.

As it is the only USAF ARW in Europe and Africa, it comes as a surprise that the 100 ARW is the last active-duty unit in the USAF to receive this latest variant.

The KC-135 serial 59-1475 touched down at RAF Mildenhall on November 24, to join the 100ARW and the rest of its earlier variant KC-135s. The aircraft previously served with the 92nd ARW at Fairchild AFB, Washington. 

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing move a Block 45 variant of a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft along the flightline at Royal Air Force Mildenhall , on November 24. USAF/ Senior Airman Joseph Barron

Capt Nicholas Boonstra, 351st Air Refueling Squadron pilot said: “With RAF Mildenhall now having one Block 45 aircraft, all active-duty squadrons in the US Air Force have some Block 40 and 45 variants of the KC-135.”

Within the Block 45 variant, the autopilot is more advanced, and the variant replaces the old Block 40 engine instruments with a digital glass cockpit display and further avionics and computer updates.

“With more capabilities, we are expected to achieve higher mission readiness." Boonstra concluded.