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KDC-10: Return of the Dutch giant

24.08.2018, 13:08

This year’s NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days will offer an exclusive return of one of the largest transport and aerial refuelling aircraft operating among European air forces. The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will send KDC-10 for the static display, where it will be accompanied by two F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.

There are only two KDC-10 stationed in Europe, both of them serve in the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and visitors of NATO Days had the opportunity to see one of these unique aircraft for both the first and last time in 2015. On the contrary, F-16 fighters may be perceived as traditional participants which debuted at Mošnov Airport ten years ago.

“We consider participation of KDC-10 being extraordinary especially due to a high operational engagement which the existence of only two of these aircraft in the Royal Netherlands Air Force brings with it. Presentation of this giant aircraft at public events such as NATO Days is thus truly rare, the more we appreciate the fact that we were able to negotiate its return after three years,” emphasizes Zbyněk Pavlačík, chairman of Jagello 2000, and adds: „However, this does not represent the only contribution of the Dutch air force, there will be a pair of popular F-16s presented at the static display as well.”

The KDC-10 transport and aerial refuelling aircraft were converted from two DC-10 which the RNLAF bought from the civilian airline Martinair back in 1992. The aircraft is able to fly with maximum of 112 tons of fuel alongside with more than 40 tons of cargo. The air-to-air refuelling is carried out by the RARO system which thanks to five cameras transmits a 3D image back to the operational cabin, where the fuel pump is controlled by joystick. It is possible to pump approximately 1,750 litres of fuel per minute from the tanker.

KDC-10 represents the fourth version of transport and aerial refuelling aircraft which has been presented to visitors of NATO Days – in the previous years, there were also the US KC-135, French C-135FR and Swedish KC-130 showed at Mošnov Airport. Nevertheless, KDC-10 is by far the largest one among the aforementioned aircraft – it is 17 metres high which is five meters more than in the case of both KC-135 and the well-known B-52 bombers, which KDC-10 overreaches also by length - 55 meters over 48 meters.

The Dutch KDC-10 operate from their home base at 334th Transport Squadron in Eindhoven and are regularly deployed to both military and humanitarian missions abroad. For example, they were engaged in operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq or delivered humanitarian aid to earthquake-hit Haiti. Most recently, one KDC-10 provided air-to-air refuelling to the Dutch F-16s and other allied aircraft within the combat mission against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

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NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days!

The General Partner of NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days is the company
AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s.


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