13th Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A
Copyright: Almos Castellazzi

Maiden Flight for the 13th Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A

Covid-19 has not stopped production at the FACO in Cameri (Final Assembly & Check-Out): on 25 August the fifth low observability Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter serialized F-013, commissioned by the Dutch government for the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force) successfully completed the first of the test and certification flights before the official handover and before reaching the units already located at the Leeuwarden home base.

As usual, the aircraft, the thirteenth to leave the italian production plants, flew escorted by an Italian Air Force Typhoon F-2000A in the role of chase plane.

AN-13 (acronym and production number of Dutch aircraft) is the fifth machine produced by the Novara plant co-managed by Leonardo Aircrafts and Lockheed Martin on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defense where, despite some delays accumulated as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic, the production of the wings for the entire program and the assembly of the Italian and Dutch aircraft continue.

To date, 46 F-35As have been ordered by the Dutch Government, of which 12 have been delivered (8 produced directly at the Lockheed Martin Fort Worth, TX plants and 4 at the F.A.C.O. in Cameri). With an investment of over $ 9 billion, 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