According to The Aviationist, the trials included “day, twilight, and evening plugs between the F-35’s IFR (In-Flight Refuelling) probe and the tanker’s hose”.

Voyager is fitted with two Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods, Cobham being the company who pioneered the hose-and-drogue system.

It has also been reported by multiple sources that the trials were completed one week early with only 18 trial flights required out of 20 planned.

According to an RAF article:
“The UK has 19 personnel embedded within the f-35 development test programme at Patuxent River, many of whom are set to embark on a us marine corps amphibious vessel for the third and final set of development test sea trials for the F-35B, ahead of the UK’s own F-35B ship integration trials which are scheduled to take place on board HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2018.”

The F-35B’s maiden operational deployment is set for late 2017 and its bound for the Western Pacific. The jet will deploy aboard an amphibious flattop and the US Marine Corps are planning a more powerful escort force to support it, according to Admiral Scott Swift, head of Pacific Fleet, as reported by the Marine Times. The F-35B has already flown from American assault ships as part of a series of tests, which largely went well.

The UK plans to purchase 138 of the type as costs continue to fall and issues with the jet are rapidly resolved.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The Americans must be kicking themselves ‘their’ tanker is still months away whereas the MRTT is going from strength to strength – fancy completing trials early! Heaven forbid, what is the world coming to!

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