Israeli Air Force F-35I ‘Adir’ fighter aircraft is undergoing a series of aerial refueling tests at Tel-Nof air force base attached to 140 Squadron, also known as the Golden Eagle Squadron.
The experiments – performed in collaboration with the "Desert Giants" Squadron from Nevatim AFB – will enable the stealth fighter to be refueled in the air by the "Re'em" (Boeing 707) aircraft, Israel’s air force said in a press release Sunday.
“The tests assess the flight quality and division of labor between the fighter jet and the fueling aircraft in both day - and night, while also ensuring the mechanical propriety of both aircraft,” the release states. The series of tests includes four stages, three of which have already been performed successfully.
"We are testing the F-35I’s capability to fly in certain conditions and behave a certain way that allows it to fly in formation with the refueling aircraft and operate with the required accuracy", explained Maj. Shaul, a test engineer at the FTC. "We are also testing the combination of the fighter jet and the fueling aircraft. The 'Re'em' is a large aircraft, and its engines create whirlwinds. Thus, we need to ensure that both aircraft can operate together, aerodynamically speaking, and can follow each other’s orders".
The main goal of the aerial refueling tests is to allow the "Adir" to be refueled by Israeli tankers in every speed and height permitted by the aircraft's program block.
The "Adir" has already undergone both diurnal and nocturnal flight tests, and is due to perform a refueling test in pitch-dark.