Freitag, 14.12.2018 17:41 Uhr

F-35A: Italian Air Force jets now fully operational

Verantwortlicher Autor: Gianluca Conversi Amendola AFB, 03.12.2018, 16:50 Uhr
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6th and 7th F-35A approaching at Cameri AFB (F.A.C.O.)
6th and 7th F-35A approaching at Cameri AFB (F.A.C.O.)  Bild: Gianluca Conversi / PSC

Amendola AFB [ENA] On November 30 2018, Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) has declared the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of its current 8 F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter jets operational fleet. The new Chief of Italian Air Force Lt.Gen. Alberto Rosso made the announcement during the NATO TLP Media Day.

“With the achievement of the Initial Operating Capability of our F-35 we are able to express, first in Europe, a real operational capability with a fifth generation aircraft”, said Lt. Gen. Alberto Rosso. The IOC certifies that the first Italian F-35 squadron, the 13° Gruppo (Squadron), belonging to the 32° Stormo (Wing) based at Amendola, is ready for allied operations. Amendola is the first Italian F-35 main operating base to receive F-35As from the Cameri, Italy, F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) production facility near Milan. Italy is reportedly planning to order 90 Joint Strike Fighters (60 F-35A and 30 F-35B). Currently, 10 F-35As and one F-35B have been delivered.

The 11th A model aircraft is ready to be delivered to the Air Force within end of the year and the second F-35B STOVL (BL-2) is under final checks at F.A.C.O. Cameri, IT (Final Assembly & Check-Out). Timelines On September 7, 2015, AL-1, the first-ever Italian-produced F-35, took the first international flight in F-35 program history. In February 2016, AL-1 made the program’s first transatlantic crossing. Italy began operations of their first four F-35s in 2016 at Luke AFB, Arizona, where pilots and maintainers from F-35 partner countries around the world receive training. In December 2016, the Italian Air Force’s first F-35s arrived at the first in-country base, Amendola AFB.

In October 2017, the first italian-assembled F-35B, first outside US, made its maiden flight. The aircraft has been then delivered to the Italian Navy in January 2018. The F.A.CO. plant is owned by Italian Defense and coordinated by a joint-venture between Lockheed-Martin and Leonardo Aircrafts, is currently producing 29 F-35A for the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Discussions are in place with Belgian and Danish government to produce at the italian factory their ordered 5th generation jets to replace the respective Air Forceìs aging F-16 fleet. www.aviation-report.com www. pitispotterclub.it

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