First International Tanker Refuels F-35 Lightning II
An Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) KC-767A aerial refueling tanker successfully completed its first U.S. Air Force F-35A boom receiver certification refueling flight, July 29 over California's High Desert region.
Italy's KC-767A is the first international tanker not operated by the USAF to undergo refueling certification trials with a U.S. aircraft. During the flight, the KC-767A and its military aircrew completed 25 boom contacts with the F-35A and successfully offloaded 16,000 pounds of fuel. Italy operates a fleet of four KC-767A tankers, a derivative of the Boeing 767 commercial aircraft, which are stationed at Pratica di Mare Air Base, near Rome.
Both the Italian Air Force and Navy will operate F-35s, recapitalizing their existing fleets of Tornados, AMX and AV-8 Harrier aircraft. The KC-767 F-35 refueling qualifications will further enhance the operational capability of Italy's F-35 fleet and broadens Italy's capabilities to support other countries' F-35s in multi-national security operations.