First non-US tanker refuels F-35

An Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767A aerial refueling tanker successfully completed its first F-35A boom receiver certification refueling flight last week over over California. The tanker was the first non-US tanker aircraft to refuel the 5th generation fighter jet, which is also on order from Italy.

During the fligh on 29 July, the KC-767A completed 25 boom contacts with the F-35A and successfully offloaded 16,000 pounds of fuel. Italy operates a fleet of four KC-767A tankers, a derivative of the Boeing 767 commercial aircraft, which are stationed at Pratica di Mare Air Base, near Rome.

Italy was also the country that saw the opening of the second F-35 production line in the world, delivering its first F-35 earlier this year. The first flight of that aircraft is expected this fall.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest