Copyright: A. Tornotti

Maiden flight for the 15th Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A from italian FACO in Cameri

While the U.S. State Department cleared the sale to the United Arab Emirates of up to 50 F-35s, worth $10.4 billion, fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II combat aircraft, making it in case the 15th country to acquire american-made low-observability aircraft, from the Novara plant in Cameri, co-managed by Lockheed Martin and Leonardo on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defense, the 15th F-35A aircraft for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht), 7th dutch aircraft to leave the italian FACO, has left the Final Assembly & Chec-Out factory.

The maiden flight of the aircraft, serialized F-015, took place on the afternoon of 10 December, as always accompanied by an Italian Air Force Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon in the role of chase plane, while the second flight took place today 14 December 2020.

We recall that the thirteenth Dutch F-35A aircraft (serial number F-013 and production number AN-13) flew last August 25, while the fourteenth Dutch F-35A aircraft (serial number F-014 and production number AN-14) had flown a few days later, on 2 September. A little over a year since the first flight of the ninth dutch F-35A but first produced at the italian F.A.C.O. of Cameri, seven F-35As from the Netherlands are already produced in Italy after the first batch of 8 was built at the huge Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, TX.

How many Dutch F-35As are produced in Italy?

Code Service Type CN Plant Status First Comment Previous ID
F-009 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-9 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 09/09/2019 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 17-5308
F-010 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-10 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 04/11/2019 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 17-5309
F-011 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-11 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 15/06/2020 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 18-5405
F-012 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-12 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 17/06/2020 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 18-5406
F-013 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-13 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 25/08/2020 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 18-5407
F-014 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-14 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 02/09/2020 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 18-5408
F-015 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-15 FACO Cameri (Italy) On Order 10/12/2020 TDY FACO Cameri Plant, Italy USA 18-5409
F-016 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-16 FACO Cameri (Italy) On Order USA 18-5410
F-017 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-17 FACO Cameri (Italy) On Order USA 18-5411
F-018 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-18 FACO Cameri (Italy) On Order USA 18-5412

To date, 46 F-35As have been ordered by the Dutch Government, with an investment of over 9 billion US dollars, the Royal Netherlands Air Force plans to equip 3 squadrons and have 4 aircraft always available for NATO missions and national air defense.

Article by: Gianluca Conversi
Images: D. Tornotti