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Boeing C-137 Stratoliner

The Boeing C-137 Stratoliner is a retired VIP transport aircraft derived from the Boeing 707 jet airliner used by the United States Air Force.

Other nations also bought both new and used 707s for military service, primarily as VIP or tanker transports.

In addition, the 707 served as the basis for several specialized versions, such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft.

The designation C-18 covers several later variants based on the 707-320B/C series.

The C-137 should not be confused with the superficially-similar Boeing C-135 Stratolifter, although they share a common ancestor the two aircraft have different fuselages.



The C-18 is the US military designation for the conversions of the 707-320B series.


Eight second-hand 707-323Cs bought as crew trainers for the EC-18Bs, four later converted to EC-18B, two converted to EC-18D, one to C-18B, one was not taken into service and was used for spares.


One C-18A modified with instrumentation and equipment to support the Military Strategic and Tactical Relay System (MILSTAR).


Four C-18As modified alongside examples of the C-135 for Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft (ARIA) missions in support of the Apollo space program.

The designation E-7 was originally applied to modified Boeing 707s before being replaced by the EC-18 designation.


Original designation for two prototype J-STAR aircraft, later redesignated E-8A.


Two C-18As modified as a Cruise Missile Mission Control Aircraft (CMMCA).


Two second-hand 707-331 aircraft modified for E-3 pilot and crew training.


Two second-hand 707-382 aircraft modified for E-6 pilot training.


Three 707-153s with a 22-passenger VIP interior and provision for use as an airborne command post, re-designated VC-137B.


The three VC-137As re-engined with four Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3 engines, operated by the 89th Military Airlift Wing, redesignated C-137B.


The three VC-137Bs redesignated when downgraded from VIP role.


Two 707-353Bs were purchased by the USAF for service as presidential transports with call signs SAM 26000 and SAM 27000, later redesignated C-137C.


The two VC-137Cs were redesignated when downgraded from presidential use.

SAM 26000 and SAM 27000 were retired in 1998 and 2001 respectively.

Two further C-137Cs were acquired by the USAF on 24 March 1988, one 707-396C and one 707-382B bought second hand in 1987.


Two aircraft built as Early Warning and Control System prototypes.

Later re-engined and re-designated E-3A.

A further second-hand 707-355C aircraft was acquired and configured as an airborne special operations command post.

CC-137 Husky

Canadian Forces designation for the 707-347C.

Five were purchased new in 1970.


Brazilian Air Force


IRIAF operates 707 Tankers and Transports.

707 Re’em

The Israeli Air Force operates an undisclosed number of converted Boeing 707s with flying booms in 120 Squadron.

Israel’s fleet are former civilian aircraft adapted for military uses such as aerial refueling of fighter jets and transport.

Able to carry 20 extra fuel tanks while modified for aerial refueling, the Re’ems can be adapted to carry passengers as well as cargo such as military equipment and ammunition.


The 707 Tanker/Transport.

Italy purchased and converted four 707s, two to tankers and two to a straight freighter.

Omega Aerial Refuelling Services also operates K707 tankers for lease.


The Royal Saudi Air Force purchased eight E-3 airframes configured as aerial refueling tankers.


Airborne Early Warning, Command and Control aircraft developed in conjunction with Israel Aircraft Industries using a former Lan Chile aircraft.


Three ex-Sabena airliners converted to TCA (Trainer Cargo Aircraft) in 1989 to support the NATO NAEWF E-3A training and air transport/cargo based on Boeing 707-320B.

The aircraft were capable of making dry hook ups with the USAF Flying Boom air-to-air refuelling system for training of pilots that were new to NAEWF, but also served as cargo/passenger transport.

The two oldest/highest time 707s were replaced by two former Luftwaffe 707s in 1999.



152 ft 11 in (46.61 m)


145 ft 9 in (44.42 m)


42 ft 5 in (12.93 m)

Wing area

3,010 sq ft (279.63 m2)

Empty weight

98,466 lb (44,663 kg)

Gross weight

297,000 lb (135,000 kg)

Max take-off weight

327,000 lb (148,325 kg)


4 × Pratt & Whitney TF33-PW-102 turbofan engines ,

18,000 lbf (80 kN) thrust each


Maximum speed

627 mph (1,009 km/h, 545 kn)

Cruise speed

600 mph (966 km/h, 520 kn)


7,610 mi (12,247 km, 6,610 nmi)

Service ceiling

50,000 ft (15,200 m)

Rate of climb

4,900 ft/min (25 m/s).

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