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?
|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