Super Snoopers

The Evolution and Service Career of the Specialist Boeing C-135 Series with the 55th Wing and Associated Units

Bob Archer

US military C-135 spy planes flying intelligence, airborne command, treaty compliance, nuclear monitoring, weather monitoring and other tasks. The aircraft, places, missions, people, operating worldwide sorties, close to opponents such as Russia and China. 60 years of operations, history, and personal stories of super spooks.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
208 color and black & white
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781781557693
Pages : 352
Dimensions : 9.76 X 6.77 inches
Stock Status : In stock


The US Air Force has performed peripheral reconnaissance adjacent to the traditional foes of Russia, China, North Korea and others for seven decades. Evolving from rudimentary aircraft to an unprecedented level of sophistication, the current, elderly airframes boast unmatched performance. The book details the aircraft, equipment, sensors, air bases involved, and limited operational details—as much remains highly classified. Additionally, stories by the personnel involved, who have flown these mission, and often faced their quarry at very close range. The majority of aircraft involved are the Boeing C-135 series, including more than 100 different airframes, of 48 different versions. Missions include strategic intelligence, airborne command and control, treaty compliance, Open Skies, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, and transportation. Details the different aircraft missions, bewildering program names, operating locations, and flying units involved. Background support organizations are presented. A potted history of every aircraft involved is included, together with units operated, and designations applied. Sixty years of operations, which continue to this day, are mostly shrouded in secrecy. A cat and mouse adventure, throughout the Cold War, into the new peace dividend, and now in the face of renewed Russian aggression. The veil of secrecy is lifted, ever so slightly!

About The Author

London born Bob Archer's sixty years in aviation began as an aircraft enthusiast, turned photographer. Latterly writing for aviation journals, as well as four books. His primary period of interest is post World War Two to date. American, Russian and UK manufacturers are his favourites. Two greatest aviation periods were viewing the early 1960s American nuclear bombers in central England, and the Russian military in Eastern Europe during the early 1990s. He has flown in numerous military aircraft, including Phantom, Tornado, Jaguar, Hercules, VC.10 and various helicopters worldwide. Bob is married to Anzhelika, who shares his passion for aviation.


Chapter One: The 55th Wing and Offutt AFB;
Chapter Two: Current Strategic Reconnaissance Wings and the Aircraft;
Chapter Three: Airborne Command Posts;
Chapter Four: Other Current Aircraft Types;
Chapter Five: Past Aircraft Types;
Chapter Six: Support and Facilities – East and West;
Chapter Seven: Operations;
Chapter Eight: Offutt at War;
Chapter Nine: Spooky Tales;
Chapter Ten: Individual Aircraft;
Histories; Appendices – Units.

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