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That year the Soviet Union announced its intention to detonate a 100 megaton thermonuclear device on Novaya Zemlya, the so-called Tsar Bomba.A testbed KC-135A (55-3127) was modified under the Big Safari program to the SPEED LIGHT BRAVO configuration in order to obtain intelligence information on the test.

The AMP standard includes conversion from analog readouts to a digital "glass cockpit" configuration.

The current RC-135 fleet is the latest iteration of modifications to this pool of aircraft dating back to the early 1960s. RC-135s supported operations in Vietnam War, the Mediterranean for Operation El Dorado Canyon, Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury, Panama for Operation Just Cause, the Balkans for Operations Deliberate Force and Allied Force, and Southwest Asia for Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

At least four KC-135A tankers were converted into makeshift reconnaissance platforms with no change of Mission Design Series (MDS) designation.

KC-135As 55-3121, 55-3127, 59-1465, and 59-1514 were modified beginning in 1961.

Initially employed by Strategic Air Command for reconnaissance, the RC-135 fleet has participated in every armed conflict involving U. RC-135s have maintained a constant presence in Southwest Asia since the early 1990s.

They were stalwarts of Cold War operations, with missions flown around the periphery of the USSR and its client states in Europe and around the world.The Boeing RC-135 is a family of large reconnaissance aircraft built by Boeing and modified by a number of companies, including General Dynamics, Lockheed, LTV, E-Systems, and L3 Technologies, and used by the United States Air Force and Royal Air Force to support theater and national level intelligence consumers with near real-time on-scene collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities.Based on the C-135 Stratolifter airframe, various types of RC-135s have been in service since 1961.By 1967, they emerged as RC-135Cs and all entered service that year.The refueling boom was not fitted and the boom operator station was used as a camera bay for a KA-59 camera.The three aircraft were 55-3121, 59-1465, and 59-1514; a fourth, serial no.