The Turkish defense ministry has welcomed its first KC-135R Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft to undergo the Block 45 upgrade.
The defense ministry said in a social media post on September 5 that the upgraded tanker arrived home after completing a transatlantic flight.
The Turkish Air Force currently has a total of 7 Stratotankers, with the remaining six currently configured with GATM (Block 40.4) avionics.
Block 45 upgrades will match Turkey’s Stratotankers to the US Air Force’s Block 45.1 configuration, which introduces digital avionics cockpit instruments to an aircraft model that first flew in the 1950s.
The instrument panel replacement modification replaces most of the remaining analog gages in the cockpit of the aging KC-135 with new instrumentation, coupled with a modern LCD display. Avionics such as the radio altimeter, auto-pilot, digital flight director and other components associated with these systems in the aircraft are also replaced.
The US Air Force received its first upgraded Stratotanker from Rockwell Collins in 2017. It is unclear which US company is responsible for the upgrade of the Turkish tankers.