Test pilots from Edwards Air Force Base in California were deployed to Royal Air Force Mildenhall in the UK for tanker trials.
January 15: The US Air Force has confirmed that ten test pilots from Edwards Air Force Base in California were deployed to Royal Air Force Mildenhall in the UK between October 19 and December 21 to test the air refuelling capabilities of the Eurofighter Typhoon with USAF KC-135R Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender tankers.
“The testing was done because NATO wanted to get a clearance so operational Eurofighter Typhoons could air refuel with USAF tankers,” said Major Prospero ‘Paco’ Uybarreta, Multi-engine Test Flight Commander with the 445th Flight Test Flight Squadron, part of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB.
Edwards’ Air Force Flight Test Center sent one test pilot, two tanker test pilots, four flight test engineers and three test boom operators to RAF Mildenhall for two months, supported by 100th Air Refueling Wing personnel from Mildenhall. To ensure all possible operational scenarios were tested, the aircraft were put in a variety of different circumstances and performed a wide range of tests over 18 sorties. A Typhoon from BAE Systems at Warton in Lancashire was used to link up with the tanker aircraft.
“Overall, Eurofighter and the tankers should have no major problems during operational air refuelling,” said Major Uybarreta, and NATO clearance for Typhoon and USAF operations is expected in due course.