Some interesting shots of the the second F-35B destined to the Italian Navy.
On May 29, the second Italian F-35B, a short-take and vertical landing Lightning II aircraft assembled at the Cameri Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility, in northwestern Italy, designated BL-2, carried out a test flight in STOVL mode.
The aircraft, serialled MM7452, was not yet given the individual code (4-02) and sported “partial” Italian Navy markings similar to those on the Italian Navy’s AV-8B+ Harrier II of the Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati: it features the wolf’s head insignia on the tail, the wolf’s paw prints on the rudder, as well as the MARINA text, but it lacks the typical Italian Navy roundel on the nose section.
The aircraft, piloted by an Italian Navy pilot and chased by an Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon sporting RSV (Reparto Sperimentale Volo – Italian Test Wing) markings (MM7350/RS-22), is completing acceptance flights ahead of the official delivery to the Italian Navy. After the delivery, it will be transferred to the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, to obtain the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification, before moving to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, home of U.S. Marine Corps F-
Best Shot Aircraft‘s contributor and photographer Roberto Resnigo witnessed one of the test flights of the second Italian F-35B last week and took the interesting photographs of the aircraft that you can find in this post.
Although the future is still not clear, the most recent figures still see Italy procuring 90 F-35s: 60 F-35As for the Air Force and 30 F-35Bs for both the ItAF and Italian Navy. The Navy’s STOVL aircraft will replace the ageing Harrier jump jets at Grottaglie airbase, in southeastern Italy, and aboard the Cavour aircraft carrier. For the moment, according to the authoritative Italian defense magazine RID, Italy has ordered 14 F-35s (13 of those already delivered) as well as long lead and extra long lead items belonging to LRIP 12, 13 and 14 lots. However, at the moment, there is no committed procurement of items belonging to the subsequent lots.