Here Are The First Photos Of The US F-35B (With Special Tail Marking) Operating Aboard Italy’s Aircraft Carrier Cavour

The first F-35B about to land aboard ITS Cavour. Highlighted is the special tail marking for the sea trials (Image credit: Italian Navy edit: The Aviationist)

The Italian Navy has just released the first shots of the VX-23 F-35B aircraft taking part in the certification of the compatibility between the 5th generation fighter aircraft and Italy’s aircraft carrier ITS Cavour. At least one, sports a new, special sea trials tail marking.

The Marina Militare (Italian Navy) has just released some interesting shots showing the U.S. F-35B from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River), Maryland, operating aboard Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour, off the US East Coast.

The two specially instrumented U.S. F-35Bs of the Integrated Test Force (ITF) landed aboard the Italian Navy flagship to being the sea trials that will verify the compatibility between the 5th generation fighter aircraft and the ITS Cavour. The trials also represent an important step towards declaring the Initial Operation Capability (IOC) of the F-35B in the Italian Navy, expected by 2024.

As already explained in a previous article, the of the F-35Bs aboard Cavour was a significant milestone for the Italian naval service, as it prepares to operate the 5th gen. stealth jet from an aircraft carrier.

An F-35B landing aboard Italy’s aircraft carrier Cavour off the U.S. East Coast. (Italian Navy)

The photographs that the Italian Navy has released show the two F-35Bs during the first vertical landing aboard the aircraft carrier and operating on the flight deck of Cavour.

One of the two F-35Bs about to perform a vertical landing aboard Cavour. (Italian Navy)
An F-35B of VX-23 about to land. (Italian Navy)

Interestingly, one of the shots unveils the special tail marking applied to the right tail of the F-35B 168717/69 that celebrates the sea trials activity aboard Italy’s aircraft carrier. It’s not clear whether the other aircraft sports the same marking too.

The F-35B with the special marking on the right hand tail. (Image credit: Italian Navy / edit: The Aviationist)
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.