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Italian Air Force receives the 9th F-35A new stealth jet

Verantwortlicher Autor: Gianluca Conversi Aviation Report, 16.12.2017, 14:56 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Aviation-Report Bericht 5608x gelesen
AL-9: the 9th Italian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II enters in active service
AL-9: the 9th Italian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II enters in active service  Bild: D. Tornotti

Aviation Report [ENA] Yesterday December 15, the 9th Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II has been delivered to Italian Air Force. The aircraft, numbered AL-9 (A means conventional model and L Italy) and operational tail code 32-09, has been taken in charge by the 32nd Wing at FACO Cameri (Final Assembly & Check-Out).

Another F-35A (32-07) landed at the airbase in the morning and fly together with the new stealth 5th generation jet to its operational base in Amendola, Foggia. The 2 F-35 jets left Cameri around 12:30 Zulu. Italian Air Force already commissioned 9 F-35, 4 of which are US based at Luke AFB at the International F-35 training school and 5 operational at Amendola AFB, Italy. Italy is on track to receive 60 F-35A within 2027 and next year 2 more F-35A are expected to be delivered LRIP 10 plan (Low Rate Initial Production).

The first STOVL model (BL-1) is expected to be delivered within the end of the year and as of today, the Minister of Defense has not officialized if it will be Italian Air Force or Italian Navy to receive the first F-35B Lightning II assembled outside US. The B-Model performed its maiden flight on October 24, 2017. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multi-role fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air defense missions.

With AL-9, nine F-35A conventional models are now in force to ItAF

It has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant. On 31 July 2015, the United States Marines declared ready for deployment the first squadron of F-35B fighters after intensive testing. On 2 August 2016, the U.S. Air Force declared its first squadron of F-35A fighters combat-ready. Outside US, Italy, Israel and Norway have its own jets country-based and UK will receive its first jets in the middle of 2018 and the F-35B is expected to participate at The Royal International Air Tattoo 2018 under the “100 years of RAF” celebrations.

The talks about a new fighter jet to replace aging Tornado's fleet in Germany still continue and a decision has to be taken soon. F-35 is on top of Luftwaffe's "wish-list" but the candidates on the table are also Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing with an advanced version of F-15 Strike Eagle and F/A-18 Super Hornet. While Italy, UK, Netherlands and Norway are pumping up pilot and specialists' trainings and Israel with its "special" F-35I Adir have just been declared IOC (Initial Operational Capability).

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