First Italian F-35A rolled out of Cameri facility.
On Mar. 12, the first F-35A Lightning II destined to the Italian Air Force rolled out of the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri, in northwestern Italy.
The aircraft, designated AL-1, is the first F-35A assembled internationally, the first of eight aircraft currently being assembled at Cameri, that will perform its first flight later this year.
The Italian FACO, a 101-acre facility including 22 buildings and more than one million square feet of covered work space, housing 11 assembly stations, and five maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade bays, is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and is operated by Alenia Aermacchi in conjunction with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. According to Lockheed, the current workforce consist of more than 750 skilled personnel engaged in F-35 aircraft and wing production.
The FACO will assemble the first 8 Italian F-35As and the remaining F-35A and F-35B (for a total of 90 aircraft planned that should be procured by the Italian Air Force and Navy), will build F-35A for the Royal Netherlands Air Force and it was selected in December 2014 as the European F-35 airframe Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade center for the entire European region.
An F-35 Lightning II has endured extreme weather temperatures to certify the capability of the Joint Strike Fighter to deploy to any place of the world.
An F-35B, a STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter jet, from the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force in Maryland has undergone extreme weather testing at the U.S. Air Force 96th Test Wing’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida according to a release by Lockheed Martin.
The testing is aimed to validate the capability of the plane to operate in the meteorological conditions representative of all the locations from which the aircraft is going to operate: from the Australian Outback and the U.S. deserts, to the Arctic Circle, above Canada and Norway.
The F-35B has been ferried to Eglin AFB in September 2014 and it is expected to remain at the airbase in Florida until March 2015: a six month assessment of the Joint Strike Fighter’s performance in wind, solar radiation, fog, humidity, rain intrusion/ingestion, freezing rain, icing cloud, icing build-up, vortex icing and snow.
According to F-35 test pilot Billie Flynn, the aircraft is being pushed to its environmental limits, ranging from 120 degrees to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to – 40 degrees Celsius) and so far it has met expectations.
The press release comes few weeks after an Air Force press release, reported that fuel trucks at Luke Air Force Base, in Arizona, where temperature can reach beyond 110° F (43° C) in summer months, were given a new look, by applying a two layer coating, dubbed “solar polyurethane enamel”, in order to prevent fuel stored in the tanks from over-heating: the Lightning II engine has a fuel temperature threshold and may suffer shutdowns if the fuel is delivered to it at high temperature.
Image credit:Michael D. Jackson, F-35 Integrated Test Force
F-35 aircraft from the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona have done their first flyover at the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl.
On Jan. 25, the F-35s belonging to the 56th Fighter Wing from Luke Air Force Base performed the first ever Lightining II aircraft flyover opening the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona at 6.00 PM LT.
According to one of our readers, “Cougar”, “Jeb”, “Merc”, and “CATA” are the nicknames of the Joint Strike Fighter pilots of the 61 FS who performed the flyover.
Here below you can see one of the pilots preparing to strap in the cockpit.
Here’s the patch the 56th FW has produced to celebrate the event:
Here below is the video of the flyover, officially released by the U.S. Air Force.
Among the several units hosted by the airbase near Las Vegas, there is the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, whose aim is to develop and test new tactics to employ weapons systems in combat.
The unit operates a fleet of A/OA-10, F-15C, F-15E, F-16CM, F-22 and F-35 aircraft.
Dealing with the Joint Strike Fighter, the 422nd TES is involved in development evaluation and supports the initial operational test to determine how to integrate the F-35 with other assets in the U.S. Air Force inventory.
The images in this post were taken at Nellis AFB in the morning on Jan. 12. They show some of the flying activity on an ordinary day at Nellis, including F-35s, F-16 Vipers and F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 422nd TES (with tail code “OT”) taking off for missions inside the NTTR (Nevada Test & Training Range), as well as the Thunderbirds demo team performing their daily training sortie.
The 422nd TES works closely with the USAF Weapons School, also headquartered at Nellis.
The School’s mission is to teach graduate-level instructor courses, which provide advanced training in weapons and tactics employment to officers of the combat air forces.