Italian Air Force 6th Wing welcomes first 5th Generation F-35

Italian 6th Wing receives F35
First ITAF F-35A assigned to 6th Wing sits on the flight line at Ghedi AFB, northern Italy.

The Italian Air Force 6th Wing, also known as "Red Devils", yesterday received the first fifth generation F-35A (AL-16) combat aircraft. The Lightning II with tail number 6-01/serial number MM7366 reached Ghedi Air Base in northern Italy at approx. 10:30 AM LT along with three Tornado fighter-bombers assigned to each of the three home squadrons (the 154th, the 155th and the 102nd).

The ceremony was attended by General Alberto Biavati, Commander of the Air Squad (former "Red Devils" pilot), General Francesco Vestito, Commander of the 1st Air Region (former 6th Wing Commander) as well as other military and civil authorities.

The AL-16 made its first flight on April 7, 2022 at the Cameri FACO (Final Assembly & Check-Out), where the Italian and Dutch F-35s are built. The Italian FACO has also recently completed the production of the second F-35A destined for the 6th Wing (tail 6-02) which is currently conducting Functional Check Flights.

With the arrival of the first F-35, the 6th Wing enters the fifth generation era as the second and last base of the Italian Air Force to host the type. It also marks the beginning of the end for the legacy PA-200 Tornado which is expected to be retired within a few years.

Italian 6th Wing receives F35

Together with the 32nd Wing, the 6th Wing will contribute to increasing the fifth generation capabilities of the Italian Air Force. These capabilities are crucial to the success of the missions and to be able to operate jointly with other NATO countries and allies. The F-35 is currently in use or on order by 13 nations.

Thanks to state-of-the-art systems and sensors, considerable flexibility and low-observable technology, the F-35 is able to offer a significant increase in operational efficiency, ensuring greater levels of survival in hostile environments and a high level of awareness and knowledge of the tactical scenario.

The aircraft boasts high identification capabilities and precision of engagement which, combined with innovative communication capabilities and instant sharing of key information (Net-Centric capability), allow the pilot an unprecedented management of the theater of operations, making the F-35A Lightining II a valuable aircraft suitable for modern war theaters.

The F-35 is capable of simultaneously and autonomously carrying out all types of missions such as air defense, precision ground attack, support for ground forces, aerial reconnaissance and electronic warfare.

Italian 6th Wing receives F35

Italian 6th Wing receives F35

Italian 6th Wing receives F35

Italian 6th Wing receives F35

Text and Pics: Matteo Sanzani

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