Italian F-35

The F-35 was designed to recapitalize aging western fleets and counter emerging threats in an affordable manner by leveraging the economies of scale and the economies of commonality. 
Rather than developing individual aircraft for each U.S. service branch and the various international allies, the tri-variant F-35 (CTOL - Conventional takeoff and landing, STOVL - Short takeoff/vertical landing, and CV - Carrier variant) is designed to replace no fewer than seven legacy aircraft systems – including the Tornado, AMX and Harrier currently in operation. 

The program’s eight partner nations and two Foreign Military Sales countries have already announced plans to procure nearly 700 F-35s, while the overall program of record outlines the acquisition of more than 3,100 aircraft. This approach will ultimately yield lower development, operational, and sustainment costs than traditional recapitalization efforts.

According to the official U.S. government program, Italy intends to purchase a total of 90 F-35s. Under the current plan, Aeronautica Militare is programmed to receive 60 F-35A CTOLs and 15 F-35B STOVLs, while Marina Militare is programmed to acquire 15 F-35B STOVLs.

This new fleet of 90 F-35s would replace Italy’s 253 Panavia Tornados, AMX and Harriers, resulting in enhanced operational capability, streamlined logistics and maintenance, common training curriculum, and lower operating and sustainment costs.

The first Italian-built F-35A, AL-1, rolled out of the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility in March 2014. As of July 2015, two F-35As have rolled out of the facility and six are currently in production there.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
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