Aussie Boomers Tackle Lightning

A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30 tanker is currently undergoing trials to certify its refueling compatibility with the F-35 Lightning II at Edwards AFB, Calif., RAAF officials announced. “The future of Australia’s air combat capability is reliant on the successful partnership between these two aircraft and our ability to be interoperable with our international partners,” RAAF chief Air Marshal Leo Davies said in a release. The tanker made a total of 59 contacts with an Air Force F-35A over Edwards, transferring 43,200 pounds of fuel during its first, four-hour proving sortie late last month. Testers with the 418th Flight Test Squadron completed F-35 certification trials with an Italian air force KC-767 tanker this summer, and will conduct suitability tests with the United Arab Emirates’ A330 multi-role tanker transport next year. Australia plans to buy at least 72 F-35As, replacing its legacy F-18A/B fleet based at RAAF Tindal and RAAF Williamtown.