Military Factory logo

Boeing VC-137 / C-137 Stratoliner

United States (1959)
Picture of Boeing VC-137 / C-137 Stratoliner Government VIP Transport

Despite their 1950s heritage, boeing VC-137 Stratoliners remain in acitve service with the United States Air Force into 2014.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing VC-137 / C-137 Stratoliner Government VIP Transport.  Entry last updated on 4/25/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

VC-137 "Stratoliner" is the designation used by the United States Air Force (USAF) to mark its Boeing 707s configured to the VIP passenger transport role. The Boeing 707 was developed in the latter part of the 1950s, first flying in December of 1957 and, since then, the model series has been produced in over 1,000 examples into 1979. The VC-137 remains in active service as of this writing (March 2014) and has seen several designations emerge since its formal adoption. Outwardly, the VC-137 retains the same general form and function as the original 707. The first VC-137 was delivered in 1959 and procurement proved limited.

VC-137A were the original early acquired marks and numbered three examples. These were internally configured to seat twenty-two in comfort with extra equipment to serve occupants as an Airborne Command Post (ACP). Power was served through 4 x Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojet engines. These aircraft were then redesignated as VC-137B. The VC-137B was refitted with 4 x Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3 turbofan engines and they, themselves, would later be known under the C-137B designation.

Beginning in 1961, the USAF procured an additional Boeing 707 aircraft (707-353B) and assigned it the VC-137C designation to serve the President of the United States and staff members. A second example followed in 1972 and, as with the earlier VC-137Bs, the VC-137C became known as C-137C.

The EC-137D designation was reserved for related Early Warning and Control System (EWAC) aircraft prototypes and numbered two. These then evolved under the E-3A "Sentry" designation to become their own notable Boeing 707 offshoot, serving with several world powers including NATO.

Any available statistics for the Boeing VC-137 / C-137 Stratoliner Government VIP Transport are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (628mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Boeing VC-137B Stratoliner's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
7
7


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 1959
Type: Government VIP Transport
Manufacturer(s): Boeing Aircraft Company - USA
Production: 7
Global Operators:
United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Boeing VC-137B Stratoliner model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3 Turbofan engines developing 18.000lb of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
628 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
1,010 kph


Knots
545 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
5,757 mi


Kilometers
9,265 km


Nautical Miles
5,003 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
49,869 ft


Meters
15,200 m


Miles
9.44 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
4,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,219 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• VC-137A - Original three examples modified for VIP service; seating for 22; Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojet engines; redesignated to VC-137B.
• VC-137B - Redesignated VC-137A models with Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3 turbofan engines; redesignated as C-137B.
• VC-137C - Two Boeing 707s for USAF converted for Presidential transport role; becoming C-137C.
• C-137B - Original three VC-137A/B aircraft post-VIP service role.
• C-137C - Pair of ex-VC-137C models for post-VIP/Presidential transport role.
• EC-137D - Pair of prototype airframes to serve in EWCS role; evolving to become E-3 Sentry series.