Dutch Air Force retires last McDonnell-Douglas KDC-10 tanker

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The final McDonnell-Douglas KDC-10 trijet tanker of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht, the Dutch Air Force, will carry out its last official flight on a farewell tour of the Netherlands on October 7, 2021.

Derived from the United States Air Force KC-10A Extender, the KDC-10 is to date the largest aircraft ever operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force, which at one time boasted three of the aircraft in its ranks. 

Two of the tankers were converted in the middle of the 1990s from two DC-10-30CF civilian freighters acquired from Dutch airline Martinair. A third one, bought from United Airlines, had a short-lived career and was scrapped in 2014 after only three years of service. The tankers were operated by the 334th Transport Squadron.

On October 7, 2021, the last Dutch KDC-10 in operation, registered T-235, will take off from its home base of Eindhoven Air Base that houses all the Koninklijke Luchtmacht’s transport aircraft. It will visit several other bases, as well as a few civilian airports including Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport (AMS) and Rotterdam-The Hague Airport (RTM).

Like its sister aircraft T-264, which was retired in 2019, the tanker will then join the fleet of the US private contractor Omega Aerial Refueling Services. In addition to the Dutch aircraft, the latter also operates two more KDC-10 that it converted from former Japan Air Lines DC-10-40s, the extended version of the airliner.

The KDC-10 will be replaced by the Airbus A330 MRTT multi-role tanker. The Netherlands is part of NATO’s Multinational MRTT Fleet that should eventually consist of nine aircraft, five of which are to be based in Eindhoven. 

The A330 MRTT is ​​a multi-role aircraft, both a tanker and a carrier (freight and passengers) based on the A330. 


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