First Italian Navy F-35B Has Arrived At NAS Patuxent River After Completing Transatlantic Crossing

The first F-35B assembled outside the US has arrived at NAS Pax River, Maryland.

On Jan. 31, the first Italian Navy F-35B completed its transatlantic crossing landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

At Pax River, the aircraft, serialled MM7451/4-01 and taken on charge by the Marina Militare at the Cameri FACO on Jan. 25, 2018 will obtain the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification, before moving to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina home of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B pilot training.

The F-35B during the transatlantic crossing.
One of the two test pilots with the Italian Navy Flag in the cockpit.

The ferry flight from Cameri to the U.S. was a joint effort that saw the Italian Air Force supporting the crossing (that included a stopover in Lajes): two test pilots, one belonging to the ItAF, the other one belonging to the Navy, both serving with the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Italian Air Force Test Wing) flew the aircraft. During the navigation, the F-35B was also supported by a C-130J from the 46^ Aerobrigata (Air Brigade) from Pisa, in Oceanic SAR configuration, by a KC-767A tanker from the 14° Stormo (Wing) from Pratica di Mare, that refueled the aircraft, as well as by a two seater TF-2000A Eurofighter Typhoon belonging to the 4° Stormo from Grosseto, that chased the JSF along the way.

A TF-2000A, acting as chase plane, escorted the F-35B during the flight across the Atlantic Ocean.


Image credit: Italy MoD

About David Cenciotti 3794 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.