After a week from its successful first flight, the F-35 STOVL made the first short take-offs and landings.

Italian F-35B short take-off landing
Italian F-35B (BL-1) makes first short take-off/landing

CAMERI, Italy, October 30, 2017 - Today the first Italian-built F-35B (BL-1) has completed the first short take-off and landing. The JSF took to the sky after a short run at 1.10 PM LT followed by a chase F-2000A Typhoon. The modern stealth fighter returned to Cameri AB after about a 45-minute flight to perform 2 short landings, a hovering and a conventional landing. The F-35 STOVL made the first flight on October 24 and additional tests in the past few days, but always in conventional configuration. The aircraft is not yet marked, but according to unoffical source, it will be assigned to the Italian Navy.

The Italian FACO has already delivered 8 F-35As to the Italian Air Force; four have been deployed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for international pilot training and four have reached their home base in Amendola. The Italian Air Force has already completed more than 100 flight hours with its Italian-based F-35As.

After a series of confidence flights in Cameri, an Italian pilot will conduct the F-35B to the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, at the beginning of 2018, to perform the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification.

The Cameri FACO has the only F-35B production capability outside the United States and is programmed to produce a total of 30 Italian F-35Bs and 60 Italian F-35As, along with 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and retains the capacity to deliver to other European partners in the future.

The Italian FACO is also producing 835 F-35A full wing sets to support all customers in the program. The FACO was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2014 as the F-35 Lightning II Heavy Airframe Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade facility for the European region. The 101-acre facility includes 22 buildings and more than one million square feet of covered work space, housing 11 assembly stations, and five maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade bays.

On September 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 F-35A made the program's first trans-Atlantic crossing. In December 2016, the Italian Air Force's first F-35s arrived at the first in-country base, Amendola AB.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 11 other countries. The Italian F-35As and Bs replace the legacy Panavia Tornado, AMX and AV-8B aircraft.

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