Maiden flight today 2 September of the fourteenth Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II for the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force) and produced in Italy at the Novara plant of Cameri co-managed by Leonardo and Lockheed Martin on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defense; in the medium term as the closure of the F.A.C.O. of Nagoya (Japan) approaches, it will be the only production unit outside the United States to produce the Lockheed Martin fifth generation stealth aircraft.
The flight of the new aircraft, serial number F-014 and production number AN-14, was as always closely followed by an Italian Air Force Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon fighter in the role of chase plane.
A little less than a year after the first flight of the ninth Dutch F-35A but first produced at the F.A.C.O. di Cameri, there are already 6 F-35As from the Netherlands produced in Italy after the first batch of 8 built at the huge Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, TX. On the Italian side, on the same time, an F-35A and an F-35B both destined to the Italian Air Force began certification flights.
Exactly one week after the first flight of the thirteenth F-35A for Holland, still undergoing tests before official commissioning, on the industrial side the production of wing boxes for the entire Joint Strike Fighter fleet program and the assembly of the aircraft to be delivered continues both for the Royal Netherlands Air Force and for the home customer, the Italian Ministry of Defense.
While JSF’s world fleet is about to exceed 570 units and 310.000 flight hours, production still at low rate, as Aviation-Report has already announced in a previous article in the italian edition, will remain so until the spring of 2021 when the production will become “full scale”.
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.
List of Dutch F-35As produced in Italy until 02 September 2020
|F-009||Koninklijke Luchtmacht||F-35A||AN-9||FACO Cameri (Italy)||Active||09/09/2019|
|F-010||Koninklijke Luchtmacht||F-35A||AN-10||FACO Cameri (Italy)||Active||04/11/2019|
|F-011||Koninklijke Luchtmacht||F-35A||AN-11||FACO Cameri (Italy)||Active||15/06/2020|
|F-012||Koninklijke Luchtmacht||F-35A||AN-12||FACO Cameri (Italy)||Active||17/06/2020|
|F-013||Koninklijke Luchtmacht||F-35A||AN-13||FACO Cameri (Italy)||Tests||25/08/2020|
|F-014||Koninklijke Luchtmacht||F-35A||AN-14||FACO Cameri (Italy)||Tests||02/09/2020|
Article by: Gianluca Conversi
Images: Giovanni Clemente