The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) this week completed air to air refueling trails with its F-35A Lightning II jets at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The tests prepared the F-35 and KDC-10 tanker plus crews of both aircraft for the Transatlantic flight to the Netherlands in May.
A RNLAF KDC-10 tanker flew from the Netherlands to the US late March for several air to air refueling (AAR) flights with the two Dutch F-35s currently based at Edwards. AAR was performed both during the day and at night time.
In May, one Dutch F-35 will head to the Netherlands for so-called perception flights. These flights should familiarize communities surrounding the main RNLAF airbases with the F-35’s noise profile. The F-35 is to also take part in the Leeuwarden airshow in June, marking the fighter jet’s first ever airshow outside the US.
A great picture of one of our F-35/KDC-10 certification flights! pic.twitter.com/W48k1oKo7P
— CDT NLD F-35 OT&E (@BertdeSmit) 6 april 2016
The Dutch airshow appearance should beat that of United States Marines Corps and US Air Force F-35s at both the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford and the Farnborough International Airshow. Both airshows are held in the UK in July.
The Atlantic crossing by a RNLAF Lightning II is not the first for the F-35, however. An Italian F-35A in February crossed the Atlantic as it flew from Italy to the US.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The RNLAF flew its Lightning IIs in formation with a KDC-10 tanker in 2015 already, but never performed actual air refueling until this week.