Jun 30 2014
Aviation Week, quotes by David Pugliese of Ottawa Citizen (Canada):
Plans for the deployment now involve up to four F-35Bs arriving in the first week of July ready to make their international debut, first at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAFFairford on July 11 and then at the Farnborough International Airshow, which opens on July 14.
In addition to appearing at the two shows, a sortie to Scotland to conduct a flyby at the naming ceremony of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is on the agenda.
Aviation Week “F-35B accompanied by 2 KC-10s, 1 C-17 and 1 KC-130J”
The aircraft will be escorted across the Atlantic by a pair of U.S. Air Force KC-10 tankers. They will be joined by a C-17 and at least one Marine Corps KC-130J in support. The F-35s are expected to refuel around 10-12 times each during their crossing, flying direct from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland to Fairford, which will act as their home base during July.
“This is a test in the respect that it hasn’t been done before,” says squadron leader Hugh Nichols, the British pilot who will fly the F-35B at the two shows, in an interview with Aviation Week. “We will be testing the refueling, the security, and the computer system that runs the maintenance. These are of course, all things that we would have had to test anyway, at some point, but this is a great opportunity to gain knowledge now that we will need later.”
Restricted Air Show Display
“This won’t be a Typhoon display, we are showing the unique aspects of the airplane, but it is not going to be doing 50 Alphas [angle of attack maneuvers] and [pulling] 9gs, because we don’t have that flight clearance,” Nichols says.
“We are not going to do a vertical landing, because the surfaces that we need to have on the deck to conduct such a landing do not exist at Fairford or at Farnborough. Hovering is possible, however, so the role demo will include some maneuvers that show off the potential of the aircraft, along with some high-speed passes.”
Many challenges to solve
For the Royal International Air Tattoo, the international debut of the F-35 is a huge coup, one that the organizers have been working to achieve for the last six years, according to the show’s chief executive, Tim Prince.
“There are many challenges to solve before the aircraft arrive at Fairford, and we have had many meetings discussing issues such as ground support and security, but we have a huge advantage in that the show is held on a U.S. base,” says Prince.
Ottawa Citizen; 30-Jun-2014; David Pugliese; “F-35 deployment to the United Kingdom will test logistics requirements for the fighter jet“