An F-16 joins the F-35 during perception flights over the Netherlands later this year. (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)

Dutch F-35 to Europe for ‘perception flights’

The Dutch ministry of Defense has officialy comfirmed that one of two Dutch F-35s now stationed in the US, will fly to the Netherlands in May or June for what the Dutch call ‘perception flights’. The deployment allows those living around Dutch airbases to experience the noise levels of the new fighter aircraft. Also, a Dutch F-35 recently dropped its very first guided bomb during tests.

Combined, the two Dutch F-35's amassed over 500 flying hours. (Image © Frank Crébas/ Bluelifeaviation.com)
Related reading: Dutch Lightning Testers – Part 1. (Image © Frank Crébas/ Bluelifeaviation.com)

The F-35 is known to be slightly noisier than the F-16 in some situations, as reported here. To demonstrate the actual noise levels, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deploys one F-35 to the Netherlands, using a air-to-air refueling (AAR) by a KDC-10 tanker aircraft, as reported earlier here at Airheadsfly.com. The KDC-10 will first fly to Edwards for AAR tests in March or April.

In May or June, the F-35 will arrive in the Netherlands and perform the perception flights. Joined by an F-16, the new fighter aircraft will take off, fly circuits and land at several airbases. Also, the F-35’s noise levels will be permanently monitored at Volkel and Leeuwarden airbases in the future, Dutch MoD states.

Airshow

The F-35 very likely also appears at the RNLAF airshow at Leeuwarden on 10 and 11 June, beating UK airshows as far as the international airshow debut of the new type goes. Several United States Marines Corps (USMC) and US Air Force F-35s will deploy to the UK in July for airshows at Fairford and Farnborough. It is not decided yet if the Dutch F-35 will fly at Leeuwarden or be used for static display only.

Guided bomb test

Meanwhile, a RNLA) F-35 recently dropped a laser guided bomb for the first time during Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E) at Edwards Air Force Base in California. As reported here at Airheadsfly.com, the Dutch are now involved in testing GBU 12 Paveway and GBU 31 JDAM guided munitions.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): An F-16 joins the F-35 during perception flights over the Netherlands later this year. (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)