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July 16, 2021

Collins Aerospace and RNLAF establish F-35 pilot readiness centre

The centre will help RNLAF and its international customers improve fleet and pilot readiness.

Collins Aerospace and the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) have established an F-35 pilot readiness centre in the Netherlands.

RNLAF’s Center for Man in Aviation in Soesterberg is the first of its kind outside the US.

The dedicated in-region facility will be used to provide helmet fitting, calibration, centrifuge, flight simulators and altitude chamber training. This will help RNLAF and its international customers maintain and improve fleet and pilot readiness.

Collins Aerospace Avionics service and support vice-president and general manager Lisa Steffen said: “As F-35 fleets continue to grow across the globe, in-region support to assure mission readiness is an absolute necessity.

“Helmet fitting coupled with extensive training provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into physiological dynamics that will drive innovation and ultimately will bring benefits for the entire F-35 community.”

The centre will now support the RNLAF’s ten F-35s that are in active service. It is expected to reach initial operating capability later this year.

RNLAF commander lieutenant general JD Luyt said: “The Royal Netherlands Air Force has a long history of providing pilot training excellence for airforces around the world.

“The F-35 pilot readiness centre is a natural evolution of our state-of-the-art facilities in the Netherlands, ready to support the fifth-generation warfighter for its recurring training, helmet fitting and calibration needs.”

A unit of Raytheon Technologies, Collins Aerospace Systems focuses on providing technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defence industry.

In 2019, the company signed an agreement to support RNLAF’s F-35 and CH-47F aircraft fleet. The establishment of the F-35 global pilot readiness centre was part of the agreement.

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