USAF (Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory) NKC-135A, 55-3120
[Photo: © Gerrit Kok, Flickr collection]
This aircraft was modified and participated in nuclear readiness programs during the summer of 1962 as part of the 'Fish Bowl' nuclear tests. It also conducted ionospheric scatter tests for VHF teletype transmitters, with adequate transmissions out to 1,500 miles. At the start of 1963 it underwent modification for participation in airborne gravity research. By May 1967 it was reconfigured as a flying infrared laboratory. In 1973 it is reported to have installed the equipment used in 'Project Hula Hoop', part of the SAC 'Burning Light' mission. By the late 1980's it was known as the Flying Infrared Signatures and Technology Aircraft (FISTA), and participated in such IR projects as 'Hi Camp' and 'Teal Ruby'. By the end of 1993 the aircraft was declared 'excess' and retired to AMARG, AZ with the inventory code CA095 applied.