Press Play: Dutch Lightnings in action

Earlier this week, published a much read story on the current Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-35A tests at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The tests are part of the ongoing F-35 Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) and also feature RNLAF F-16s, a KDC-10 tanker and Draken International A-4 Skyhawks. This Dutch Ministry of Defense video shows it all – or not?

The tests were aimed at proving F-35 / F-16 systems integration using the Link 16 data link system. The footage shows the RNLAF F-35s flying in formation with the F-16s, with A-4 Skyhawks acting as opponents. It however raises the question how tough and believable these tests actually are, since the Skyhawk is two fighter jet generations and about sixty years older than the F-35. It doesn’t compare against, say, a Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker E at all.

Also of note is the lack of air-to-air refueling images with the KDC-10 and F-35. An Italian KC-767 recently was the first non-US tanker aircaft to refuel the F-35.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A RNLAF F-35 and F-16 over California. (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)