primo volo F-35B italiano
Copyright: Gianluca Conversi

Maiden flight for the first italian F-35B STOVL version

Yesterday 24th October 2017 the first (BL-1) Italian assembled Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing model of the Joint Strike Fighter program, made its maiden flight at 1:00pm CET.

The aircraft, with an Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon as chase, left Cameri air base and remained in flight about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

This is the tenth aircraft assembled at F.A.C.O. Cameri (Final Assembly and Check-Out), one of the 2 only  outside US; the plant, which is inside the base, is owned by the Italian Government and managed by a Leonardo and Lockheed Martin’s joint-venture.

The Jump Jet will be followed by other 29 planes in the next years, 15 ordered by Italian Air Force and 15 by Italian Navy that has to replace the aging fleet of McDD AV8-B+ Harrier II STOVL currently part of the Air Wing on board the Italian aircraft Carrier  Cavour.

Article and images: Gianluca Conversi