The first Italian-build Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B Lightning II aircraft was delivered to the Italian Ministry of Defense and assigned to the Italian Navy at the Cameri Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility today.
As planned, the Italian Ministry of Defense was delivered its first F-35B STOVL variant of the Lightning II aircraft at the FACO in Cameri, northwest Italy, on Jan. 25.
The aircraft, that had been spotted flying last week, was assigned to the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) during a ceremony attended by General Claudio Graziano, Chief of Italian Defense General Staff; Admiral Valter Girardelli, Chief of the Italian Navy; Italian Air Force Lt. Gen. Francesco Langella, Director ARMAEREO; Air Commodore Charles Docherty, F-35 Joint Program Office; Fillipo Bagnato, Director of Leonardo Aircraft Division; and Mr. Doug Wilhelm, Lockheed Martin F-35 Program Management Vice President.
Unfortunately, as happened during almost all the milestone events linked to the F-35 in Italy, no media representatives were invited/allowed to attend the ceremony and the few details about the ceremony we are able to report come from an official press release from Lockheed Martin. Indeed, whereas the delivery of the first Israeli or Dutch F-35s got a significant media coverage (with constant updates, live streaming on social media, etc.), the Italian MoD has kept a “low profile” about the F-35 program (in spite of the several firsts scored by the Italian Air Force with the 5th generation aircraft).
As already explained in the past, despite the cuts (from 131 to 90 examples, with the “promise” to consider more cuts if needed…), the program has attracted a significant chunk of Italy’s defense budget: for this reason the F-35 surely the most famous defense program in Italy. And the most controversial. In Italy the F-35 is still a “sensitive” subject: a large part of the public opinion, as well as many Italian lawmakers have always been against it, because they believe that the investment as a Tier II partner and no significant industrial gains couldn’t co-exist with the country’s fragile public finances. However, the Italian Government has been able to save the F-35 and ensure the Italian Air Force its 5th generation aircraft to replace the ageing (and for this reason costly) AMX and Tornado fleets, and the Navy its F-35Bs to replace the AV-8B+ Harrier jump jets.
Anyway, to date, nine F-35As and one F-35B have been delivered from the Cameri FACO, which is the only F-35B production facility outside the United States. Four of those jets are now based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for international pilot training and five are at Amendola Air Base, Italy.
The Cameri FACO is also programmed to produce 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force and retains the capacity to deliver to other European partners in the future. The FACO is operated by Leonardo in conjunction with Lockheed Martin with a current workforce of more than 800 skilled personnel engaged in full assembly of the Conventional Take-Off/Landing F-35A and F-35B STOVL aircraft variants and F-35A wing production.
Top image: Italy’s first-built F-35B, aircraft BL-1, was delivered to the Italian Ministry of Defense and assigned to the Italian Navy at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility, Jan. 25. (Ministry of Defense Photo)
Speaking of stealth:
US Bombers Appear to Be Readying for Tactical Nuke Strike on N. Korea
“The US has been quietly amassing firepower in the Pacific during a lull in tensions with North Korea, but recent developments on an under-the-radar nuclear weapon suggest preparation for a potential tactical nuclear strike.”
Told ya they weren’t playing games. They even linked to an article from The Aviationist. It must’a been my comment on the piece that stuck out!
Sleek looking airplane! No crap hanging off its belly or wings like Sukhoi and MiG.
The dopey critics just don’t get it.
I think its more on the fact that, at minimal load out the F-35 is sleeker than the Sukhois or MiGs
Sprey got owned 5 ways passed Sunday.
Thanks for putting up a video that shows just how ignorant and how wrong that man is.
When will we see Dame Leroy behind the f35 control stick?? Never!
It’s all propaganda for western MiC and Lockheed Martin. They’re all junk that can’t climb, can’t turn, and can’t run! None of its systems and major components are complete or fully work. It doesn’t even have a gun! Stealth technology/designs are a lie! PAKFA is superior.
Couldn’t keep a straight face while typing that. The program has done a complete 180. It will and is revolutionizing air combat. Anyone blind to this is being willfully ignorant.
Air combat against any non nuclear power yes. Like using multi-million $ to bomb low tech enemies from 20000 feet, right??
That’s true, You are are right. it’s sad. That’s happen because of five star movement(*) says continuosly that joint strike fighter program is a waste of money.
The sad part is they don’t have a clue about why a nation needs an armed force.
(*)the most childish and populist political party ever.