Defense

December 20, 2013

First Dutch F-35 pilot takes to skies

Maj. Laurens Vijge, a Royal Netherlands Air Force pilot, makes adjustments while in the seat of an F-35A Lightning II prior to his first flight in the aircraft Dec. 18 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Vijge became the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 Integrated Training Center training lead, completed his first flight after 210 hours of classroom training and 13 flights in the simulators.

The first Netherlands pilot took to the skies over Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 18, in the F-35A Lightning II, making the Netherlands the second partner country to operate the fifth-generation multirole fighter.

Maj. Laurens J.W. Vijge, the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 Integrated Training Center training lead, completed his first flight after 210 hours of classroom training and 13 flights in the simulators.

“The jet handles great and is very easy to fly – in fact, it’s actually easier to fly than the simulator,” Vijge said. “I could not have been better prepared than I was for this flight, and it’s all thanks to the hard work and dedication of people working in the F-35 Academic Training Center.”

The Netherlands currently has two aircraft stationed here where they will continue to train pilots for operational testing and evaluation of the aircraft starting 2015. The Netherlands’ aircraft and personnel are incorporated into the Air Force’s 58th Fighter Squadron at the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

“It was incredible; not only was my first flight in the first Dutch F-35, but I also got to fly this historic mission with Lt. Col. Matthew Renbarger (the 58th FS commander) as my wingman,” Vijge  said, who is an experienced F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours. “It was truly amazing to start this day knowing that a lot of people, both in the U.S. as well as back in the Netherlands, have worked very hard to make this possible.”

Maj. Laurens Vijge, a Royal Netherlands Air Force pilot, dresses in his life support equipment prior to his first flight in the F-35A Lightning II Dec. 18 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Vijge became the first RNLAF pilot to fly the joint strike fighter and the flight marks the first sortie for the RNLAF at Eglin AFB.

The F-35 is designed to penetrate air defenses and deliver a wide range of precision munitions. This modern, next-generation aircraft brings the added benefits of stealth, increased interoperability with our allies and cost-sharing across U.S. services and partner nations.

“This first flight marks the start of an essential training program our pilots require, and it is a great example of the solid partnership between the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the United States Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Albert J. De Smit, the Netherlands senior national representative for U.S. F-35 operations.

“The F-35 OT&E (Operational Test and Evaluation Center) will be a cooperative effort with the United States Services and the United Kingdom,” De Smit added. “This is another example of the cooperative nature of the F-35 program.”

The F-35 program completed approximately 7,400 flights and 11,600 hours to date. More than 3,200 flights and 4,250 hours of the F-35 program were completed at Eglin AFB’s F-35 integrated training center within the last two years.

The F-35 is a fifth-generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 for the Air Force, the F/A-18 for the Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries.

Members of the Royal Netherlands Air Force watch as their F-35A Lightning II prepares to taxi out for its first flight Dec. 18 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Maj. Laurens Vijge became the first RNLAF pilot to fly the joint strike fighter and the flight marks the first sortie for the RNLAF at Eglin.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>