F-35A Royal Netherlands Air Force
18th F-35A Royal Netherlands Air Force (@ A. Castellazzi)

Maiden flight for the 18th Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A, the tenth assembled in Italy at the FACO in Cameri

With the delivery of the 200th F-35 produced for the international partners of the Joint Strike Fighter program on May 13th, yet another milestone was reached in the program conducted by Lockheed Martin together with the 7 international partners United Kingdom, Italy, Countries Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Denmark and Canada who join it at various levels of partnership.

In addition to them, 6 nations have instead acquired, or are about to acquire, the us multi-role fighter through the FMS (Foreign Military Sales) programs, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Belgium and Poland.

The day before, from the F.A.C.O. in Cameri (Final Assembly & Check-Out), Italy, the 18th F-35A destined for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht) had its baptism of the air with the usual support of a Eurofighter F-2000 Typhoon chase aircraft from the Italian Air Force. The testing programs of the entire system are still ongoing.

With the serialized F-018 aircraft, there are 10 Dutch F-35A Lightning IIs produced at the Novara plant co-managed by Leonardo Company and Lockheed Martin on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defense. The Netherlands is also the only European nation that has entrusted the Italian factory with the production, testing and delivery of its F-35s. The AN-9, the ninth Dutch F-35, first produced in Cameri, made the maiden flight on 9 September 2019.

During 2020, the RNLAF received 5 aircraft and in 2021 there are already 3 F-35s that have left the factory. The delivery of the 18th F-35A is expected within a few weeks as usual.

F-35A Royal Netherlands Air Force

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 RNLAF 322 Squadron USA 18-5411
F-018 Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A AN-18 FACO Cameri (Italy) Active 12/05/2021 TDY FACO Cameri Plant, Italy USA 18-5412

Article by: Gianluca Conversi
Images: Almos Castellazzi