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First Italian built F-35B STOVL to Italian Air Force?

Verantwortlicher Autor: Gianluca Conversi Aviation-Report, 06.11.2017, 07:59 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Aviation-Report Bericht 7577x gelesen
Italian built F-35B during its first STOVL test flight
Italian built F-35B during its first STOVL test flight  Bild: Courtesy Donato Tornotti, Cameri

Aviation-Report [ENA] Italian MoD authoritative sources expressed an idea that the first italian built short take-off/vertical landing Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II (BL-1), that came out of the factory last May 5 and went flying on October 24 2017, would be destined the Italian Airforce and not the Italian Navy.

The currently confirmed orders include 60 conventional take-off planes (F-35A) and 15 STOVL model aircrafts(F-35B) Italian Air Force, while other 15 F35B STOVLs are expected by the Navy to recapture the only fixed-wing Unit of its Naval Aviation approaching the end of operating life of the existing jet supplied, the McDD AV-8B + Harrier II. The first "B Model" has just performed the first tests of taxiing, take-off and landing in STOVL modality by last October 30 at Cameri AFB. It is also under construction at F.A.C.O. (Final Assembly and Check-Out) a second STOVL aircraft (bl-2), that is expected to be delivered in the coming months.

If the official statement of the Defense does not contain so much details of the first BL-1 flight, that issued by Lockheed Martin is a bit more detailed and highlights the results achieved by Italy in the recent history of the Joint Strike Fighter Global Program ". Milestones that will be remembered in the next years: “Lockheed Martin F-35 test pilot Paul “Hat” Hattendorf, flew BL-1’s first flight on Oct. 25. On Oct.30, during the third and final acceptance flight, Hattendorf successfully operated the jet in all STOVL modes, to include hovering over the runway.

F-35B approaching runway (Ph: Sergio Marzorati)
F-35B hovering transition, well visible the Rolls Royce Lift System (Ph:Sergio Marzorati)
Italian built F-35B from the back

After delivery to the MOD later this year, an Italian pilot is programmed to fly Italy’s first F-35B jet to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, early in 2018 to conduct required Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification. On Sept. 7, 2015, the first Italian-produced F-35 built at the Cameri FACO made the first international flight in F-35 program history, and in February 2016, the very same aircraft was flown by an Italian Air Force pilot to the United States, making the F-35 Program's first-ever trans-Atlantic crossing. In December 2016, the Italian Air Force's first F-35As arrived at the first in-country base, Amendola Air Base”.

The F-35B will operate from FOB and Italian Navy Carrier "Cavour"


The F-35B STOVL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft had as main requirement to can attain supersonic flight and a suitable vertical lift system that would not compromise this capability was needed for the STOVL variant. The solution got in production in the form of the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem, developed through a $1.3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract from Pratt & Whitney. Photos courtesy of: Almos Castellazzi, Giovanni Clemente, Sergio Marzorati, Donato Tornotti) Lockheed Martin media communication.

Italian F-35B Jump Jets will substitute navy's AV-8B+ Harrier II (Ph: Giovanni Clemente)
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