The Royal Netherlands Air Force has performed its first operational flight with a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 freighter, with the aircraft having landed back at Eindhoven air base on 3 February at the end of a five-day deployment. Covering 30,000km (16,200nm), the transport visited South Africa, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
Formerly a United Airlines passenger aircraft, the DC-10-30 arrived in the Netherlands in 2004 ahead of a programme to install a digital cockpit and a new interior with palletised seats, which would enable a quick change between the cargo and passenger configuration. However, various delays and budget constraints mean the aircraft will now mainly be used for cargo transport.
© Dutch defence ministry
The freighter was handed over to the air force in April 2011, with the service completing an operational test and evaluation phase in December. However, its new career with the Dutch armed forces will be short, with the nation's government having decided to offer it for sale in 2014 because of a reduction in defence spending.
This will coincide with the planned completion of a cockpit upgrade programme that will bring the air force's two KDC-10 tanker/transports to the level requested by military and civil aviation authorities.