Dutch 17th F-35A (@ Almos Castellazzi)

Maiden flight for the 17th Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A from italian FACO in Cameri

A little over a month after the first flight of the sixteenth F-35A destined for the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force), from the italian F.A.CO. (Final Assembly & Check-Out) also flew the seventeenth F-35A, the ninth produced at the italian plant in Cameri, co-managed by Lockheed Martin and Leonardo Aircrafts on behalf of the italian Ministry of Defense.

The flight took place as usual with the support of an Italian Air Force F-2000A in the role of chase plane. The flight program continued with the usual test flights of the F-35 system before formal acceptance by the RNLAF. The italian F.A.C.O. (Final Assembly & Check-Out) in Cameri has produced since the beginning of 2020 as many as seven aircraft for the Dutch military aviation.

Lockheed Martin produced 123 Joint Strike Fighters against the 142 planned during the difficult 2020, as a consequence of the difficulties imposed by the pandemic. Deliveries will be recovered in 2023 given that the aerospace company has not expressed its intention to change the integration programs of the new workforce after the contractions and the difficulties of bringing production plants up to standard to allow workers to carry out their activities in full safety.

We recall that the thirteenth Dutch F-35A aircraft (serial number F-013 and production number AN-13) flew last August 25 2020, the fourteenth Dutch F-35A aircraft (serial number F-014 and production number AN-14) had flown a few days later on 2 September 2020, the fifteenth Dutch F-35A aircraft (serial number F-015 and production number AN-15) flew on 10 December 2020 and the sixteenth Dutch F-35A aircraft (serial number F-016 and production number AN-16) flew on 26 January 2021.

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, nine 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) Active 10/12/2020 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 18-5409
F-016 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-16 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 26/01/2021 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 18-5410
F-017 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-17 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 02/03/2021 TDY FACO Cameri Plant, Italy 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: Almos Castellazzi