Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
WC-135 Constant Phoenix
|WC-135 Constant Phoenix|
WC-135 Constant Phoenix
|Entered service||December 1965|
|Length||139 ft 11 in||42.6 m|
|Wingspan||130 ft 10 in||39.9 m|
|Height||42 ft||12.8 m|
|Maximum takeoff||300,500 lb||136,300 kg|
|Engines||Four Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-5|
|Service ceiling||40,000 ft||12,200 m|
|Rate of climb||ft/min||m/min|
The WC-135W Constant Phoenix atmospheric collection aircraft supports national level consumers by collecting particulate and gaseous effluents and debris from accessible regions of the atmosphere in support of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
The aircraft is a modified C-135B. The Constant Phoenix’s modifications are primarily related to its on-board atmospheric collection suite, which allows the mission crew to detect radioactive “clouds” in real time. The aircraft is equipped with external flow-through devices to collect particulates on filter paper and a compressor system for whole air samples collected in holding spheres.
The interior seats 33 people, including the cockpit crew and special equipment operators from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower commissioned the Constant Phoenix program on Sept. 16, 1947 when he charged the Army Air Forces with the overall responsibility for detecting atomic explosions anywhere in the world. In September 1949, a WB-29 flying between Alaska and Japan detected nuclear debris from Russia’s first atomic test--an event thought not possible until mid-1950.
Beginning in August 1950, WB-50 aircraft were converted for the air-sampling mission over a two-year period. WC-135 aircraft began replacing the WB-50s in December 1965 and became the workhorse of the atmospheric collection program.
Air sampling missions were routinely conducted over the Far East, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Mediterranean Sea, the Polar regions, and off the coasts of South America and Africa. The WC-135W played a major role in tracking radioactive debris from the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster. Currently the air-sampling mission is tasked to support the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which prohibits any nation from testing nuclear weapons above ground. The 45th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, works closely with AFTAC and the Technical Operations Division to verify if any illegal testing of nuclear weapons has occurred. The WC-135W is currently the only aircraft in the inventory conducting air-sampling operations.
- Primary function: Air sampling and collection operations
- Contractor: Boeing Aerospace
- Power Plant: Four Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-5 turbofans with trust reversers
- Thrust: 16,050 lbf (71 kN) each engine
- Speed: 350 knots (648 km/h) indicated air speed
- Range: 4,000 nautical air miles (7,408)
- Crew: varies with mission
- Date Deployed: December 1965
- Inventory: Active force, 1; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0
|Modern USAF Series||Miscellaneous|
|C-22B, -32, -130, -37A, -40B/C||MH-53J/M|
|Trainers--T-1, -37, -38, -43, -6||HH-60G|
|WC-130 Hercules||Weather--WC-130, -135||UH-1N|
|WC-135||UAV--RQ-1/MQ-1 UAV, Global Hawk||U-2S/TU-2S|
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details