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 October 17, 2014

News: Turkey OK’s American drones to fight ISIS - Turkey is now allowing the U.S. to launch unmanned aircraft to fly over Syria. But so far, traditional warplanes are out of the question. New Ingalls boss focusing on cost performance, agility - Brian Cuccias has been in the Gulf Coast shipbuilding business for 35 years, working for...
 
 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

AM General laying off 60 from Indiana factory A company spokesman says AM General is laying off about 60 workers from the northern Indiana factory where it builds military vehicles. Company spokesman Jeff Adams says the layoffs are being made because of production schedule changes at its Military Assembly Plant in Mishawaka. Adams tells the...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI

NASA’s Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy through cosmic magnifying glass

Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger a...
 

 
Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki

Second Northrop Grumman-built Triton UAS completes first flight

Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki The second MQ-4C Triton, built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy, successfully completed its first flight Oct. 15 PALMDALE, Calif. – The U.S. Navy’s second MQ-4C Triton un...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA TV to air Russian spacewalk from International Space Station

NASA photograph Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency will don Orlan spacesuits and step outside the International Space Station Oct. 22, to perform wor...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Poland’s PIT-RADWAR signs letter of intent with Raytheon

Raytheon photograph Mike Shaughnessy, Vice President of Supply Chain, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Jerzy Milosz, Member of Board and Director of R&D, PIT-RADWAR sign a letter of intent to explore further partners...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>