July 22, 2015: Italian Aircraft Refuels F-35A

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The Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force cooperated in the first flight and aerial refueling of the flight test and evaluation and Aerial Refueling Certification of the Italian KC-767A variant with the F-35A.

At the start of the 2000s a considerable and sudden increase in their maintenance costs was leading the U.S. Air Force to run a procurement program for the replacement of around 100 of its oldest KC-135E Stratotankers. Most USAF KC-135s are of the updated KC-135R variant.  In early 2002 the USAF began negotiations with Boeing on the lease of tankers based on the Boeing 767 after it considered the Airbus A330-based tanker, the KC-330, to be more costly and a higher technical risk. The USAF said that an assessment of the two types "shows that the EADS offering presents a higher-risk technical approach and less preferred financial arrangement". It also said that the larger KC-330 "does not bring with it a commensurate increase in available air-refuelling offload".[In addition, the KC-767 has manual flight controls with an unrestricted flight envelope. The Boeing tanker officially received the KC-767A designation in 2002 and that appeared in the 2004 edition of the Department of Defense Model Designation report..

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