Here’s The Second F-35B For The Italian Navy During Test Flights in STOVL Mode

The second F-35B destined to the Italian Navy during a STOVL test flight at Cameri on May 29, 2019. (All images: Roberto Resnigo/Best Shot Aircraft)

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.

Interesting bottom view of the F-35B in STOVL configuration.

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-35B pilot training, to join the first Italian F-35B (that took part in the type’s first Elephant Walk recently).

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.

The F-35B BL-2 during the STOVL test flight.

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.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.