RSAF Stratotankers get third lease of life
Four new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) civil registration numbers were assigned for the four ex Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) KC-135Rs recently. The new registrations, N569MA, N571MA, N572MA and N573MA, would imply all of these were sold to a civilian operator.
With the recent KC-46A Pegasus delays and the increasing age and the pressure on the USAF's existing fleet of air-to-air refueling aircraft, this would be a welcome relief.
The RSAF tankers are equipped with a boom as well as a probe-and-drogue system which makes them even more versatile for a civilian operator, especially since the US Navy is already using private contractors for some time. The recent retirement or the airframes, and high maintenance standard of these four aircraft means they are a useful asset to a third party operator.
It is to be seen who has snapped them up but there’s one current operator of a fairly sizable fleet who would be our primary suspect.
Also, purchasing non-US military hardware means they don’t have to be de-militarized, making these four ex-RSAF tankers even more valuable for an existing operator and little conversion is required post acquisition.
Photo: Hans Jacobs