UK starts in-flight refuelling trials of F-35 23 May, 2016

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) recently began in-flight refuelling clearance trials of its Voyager tanker-transport aircraft with the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The trials announced by the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), are taking place at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland. Airbus Defence and Space (DS) Voyager KC.3 tanker and the Lockheed Martin F-35B receiver, with both the Voyager's wingtip and fuselage refuelling stations are being tested. Some 20 flights will be flown through to mid-June between the three-point hose-and-drogue-equipped Voyager. The test flights will collect data which will result in F-35B refuelling certification later this year, which in turn will support the F-35 initial operating capability (IOC).

The UK currently has four pre-operational F-35B aircraft, which it uses for training and for operational test and evaluation with 17 (Reserve) Squadron.

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