The first italian-built F-35 STOVL will be taken over by the Italian Navy in the coming days. It will be sent to the United States for pilot training.

F-35B Italian Navy test flight
First Italian-built F-35B conducts its final test flight before being delivered to Italian Navy

Cameri Air Base - The first Italian-Built F-35B, serialled M.M. 7451, conducted its final flight test before being delivered to the Marina Militare (Italian Navy), Jan. 23, 2018. The BL-01 took off at 12.15 a.m. LT to make a 2-hour flight during which it performed air refueling tests and five approaches to the runway before landing. The F-35 was escorted by a chase F-2000A Typhoon flew by a Reparto Sperimentale Volo - RSV pilot.

The F-35B received the markings only 10 days ago, during the first flights it was not clear which Italian armed force would take over the aircraft. The Italian Navy will take delivery of its first F-35B during a ceremony at Cameri AB on January 25. The JSF will replace the AV-8B Harrier fleet in the next few years and it will operate from Grottaglie Air Base and Cavour aircraft carrier.

Next week, an Italian pilot will fly the F-35B jet to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, to conduct required Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification. The next Italian F-35B aircraft is scheduled for delivery in November 2018. 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. It is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and is operated by Leonardo in conjunction with Lockheed Martin.

To date, nine F-35As have been delivered from the Cameri FACO, four of those jets are now based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for international pilot training and five are at Amendola Air Base, Italy.

Italy has reached several milestones in the F-35 program. 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. 

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