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.
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.
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.