Lightning IIs’ Second Italian First

Testers at Edwards AFB, Calif., have nearly completed certifying the first foreign tanker—Italy’s KC-767—to refuel the F-35 in flight. “This is No. 1 in a long line of foreign tankers that will be tested” for compatibility with several Air Force aircraft, 418th Flight Test Squadron Program Manager Sawn Sandland said in a release. “We have a whole other coalition tanker effort that’s going to certify additional receivers with the Italian, Australian, and United Arab Emirates tanker, which we plan to start within the next year,” he added. The 418th FLTS and its Italian counterparts launched testing at Edwards in early July and “require only three more test sorties to complete the program,” added F-35 experimental test pilot Vince Caterina, with the 461st Flight Test Squadron. Testing of the Royal Australian Air Force’s KC-30 will immediately follow Italian certification, and efforts on the UAE’s A330 multi-role tanker transport will kick off within the next year, according to the release. The first Italian-assembled F-35 flew for the first time from Cameri AB, Italy, on Sept. 7.