First ever F-35 assembled internationally destined to Italy rolled out of Cameri facility

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.

In spite of internal criticism and threatened cuts, F-35s will replace the Italian Air Force ageing Tornado and AMX attack planes and the Italian Navy AV-8B aircraft.

Italy_FACO_photo_1

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

 

About David Cenciotti 4428 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

13 Comments

  1. Bwahahaha. You use Lockmart as you source for info! No wonder you think nothing is wrong!

    • And you think that the F35 only being capable of 3.5g is not only possible, but fact. You’re a bit of a dunce…

      Considering it’ll be verified by multiple countries and thousands of pilots, I don’t mind using Lockheed Martin’s own website. Considering that 3.5g load of shit isn’t news or any kind, or even in the realm of possibility, I’m fine with using Lockheed Martin’s own website.

      Dunno where you think you are, that a statement like that wouldn’t get picked apart for the true idiocy it is, but i suggest finding your way back.

      • I stand corrected on the g-limit, it is 4.5, not 3.5; not as bad, but still awefull. That is 0.1 Gs better than most GA aircraft, which are usually 4.4G. And is still far inferior to the fighters produced immediately prior to WWII. It’s aerodnamics are inferior to almost every fighter made since 1960, it is made on the basis of engaging obsolete aircraft. Whether or not it can actually approach that G-limit is another story due to wing drop.

        Look up wing drop. The Wing Drop is a real issue, as outlined by the DOT&E. Wing Drop is a term used to describe a type of accelerated stall. An accelerated stall is when an airfoil exceeds the critical AoA due to a maneuver, typically back pressure on the elevator. In the F-35s case, one wing stalls before the other, potentially putting the aircraft into a nose down spin. Recovering this diving spin can be tricky, first you have to stop the spin, and then pull out; though pull out too fast and you re-enter the spin. Easy enough to do at 30,000 feet, but a death sentence at low altitude. Additionally, this makes it very difficult for the aircraft to evade another aircraft or a missile. The only way to relieve this issue is to install slats on the tops of the wings, to make one wing lose lift if the other stalls. This is hardly a solution, because it makes the airplane substantially less maneuverable.
        It’s not that I want the F-35 to fail, but it is failing. And it’s entire design is based off of a failed ideology (stealth=invisible, so everything else doesn’t matter: maneuverability, range, weapons load, etc) and outdated strategy (facing enemies that are 40 years behind you).

        • Stealth does not = invisible, strike one for that quote. The range on the F-35 outpaces the other aircraft it’s going to replace F-16,
          F-18 A/C, and the AV-8B and it has a higher weapons load, 18,000 lbs., then the F-16, F-18 A/C and the AV-8B. So I guess those two matter etc. You need to come up with some more material.
          How many crashes did the F-16 have until they fixed the FBW ?

        • Where are you getting this shit? I don’t think you understand what you’re reading.

          Pay close attention to this article. Should answer all of your questions…

          http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-f-35-and-infamous-sustained-g-spec.html

          Quit rehashing the same stupidity about stealth=invisible. That was never a statement LM made. It’s a dumbed down descriptor that the media, and people with no familiarity use. LM has always claimed that invisibility isn’t the goal. The goal is make them stealthy enough, that they have the opportunity to see a target, and shoot first at a target. Not that they’re invisible….

  2. While the F-35 is in production, due to the Military’s weird habit of putting things into production before the design is finalized, most of them are not combat ready, actually, not of them are.

    • You make it sound like Concurrency is used in all military contracts. Why does the F-35 have to be combat ready before it’s done being tested ?

      • It’s not that it has to be combat ready before being tested, it has to be tested before being combat ready/mass produced. How foolish would it be if Ford sketched up a car, put it into production and out for the public to buy, and THEN did all the required testing, and then forced the customers to foot the bill when they realized their car was far from being drivable. No one in their right mind would buy it.

        • Well then why say ” most of them are not combat ready, actually, not of them are. ” ?

  3. Snark at the sorry state of Chinese power plants all you want, the F-35 will also need to be re-engined before it sees combat. If PW had a fix they’d say so.

  4. First off this wasn’t made by Italians, it was made by American and British for the most part. Also, YES, the F-35 has massive issues, but 3.5G is NOT an issue once all the new engine mods are done (being done as we speak). How do I know…lets just say that I am “close” to the aircraft on a daily basis. Are these jets all they are made out to be? NO…are they useless…NO. What are they good at? I would say SEAD (likely best SEAD jet ever), and deep strike. After that, their performance will drop off to be mediocre at best. As for missions like CAS and CSAR. Wouldn’t get your hopes up.

    • another Brit who thinks that he is great! the F35 is more made from USA, UK and Italy., Italian Company Alenia Aeronautica MAKE Tier II & FACO. Italy will be the first EUROPEAN country and the SECOND OF THE WORLD after the US to assemble the F35!.

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