It has cost an investment of millions of euro, went through an extensive upgrade from 2004 to 2011, but three years after the ex-United Airlines DC-10 was finally ready for military service with the Royal Netherlands Air Force the plane goes to the scrapyard in British Newquay.
T-255 made a farewell pass over its homebase Eindhoven on 11 April 2014 before it headed to its certain death on the other side of the North Sea. The Netherlands Ministry of Defence decommissioned the plane as part of financial cut-backs. Attempts to sell the aircraft were unsuccessful. Phil Salter made some nice images of the T-255 arriving at Newquay.
The RNLAF bought the plane in order to enlarge its strategic airlift capacity, running short of it with only 2 KDC-10 tankers/transporters (T-235 Jan Scheffer and T-264 Prins Bernhard) and 4 C-130H tactical airlifters in service. The aircraft received new cables, new load floors, comm-nav equipment and a new cockpit.
The Dutch defence now hopes to fill the gap in her own air transport capacity by hiring military airlift from European or NATO partners, and for non-combat missions from commercial companies. With all European NATO/EU countries having a national shortage of airlift at times, Eindhoven Airbase in recent year has become home to the European Air Transport Command which aim is to co-ordinate and pool European airlift assets.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger with source information of the Netherlands MoD