The U.S. Air Force realized in the early 1950s that its fleet of Boeing-built, four-engine, propeller-driven KC-97 tankers was too slow and inefficient for inflight refueling of turbojet bombers and fighters. To address this, Boeing proposed a sleek, swept-wing, four-engine jet aircraft that would provide the speed and range the Air Force required. That proposal led to the development of a prolific military family known as the KC/C-135, and on the civil side, the 707 airliner. ...

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