First STOVL F35 made outside the USA delivered to Italian Navy

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Italy’s first-built F-35B, aircraft BL-1, at the Italian Navy at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility (Credit Italian Ministry of Defense)

The first short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B Lightning II assembled outside of the USA has been delivered to the Italian Navy.

The STOVL F-35B, aircraft BL-1, was assembled in Italy and handed over at the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri in northern Italy.

The Italian Ministry of Defense, Leonardo and Lockheed Martin employ 800 people to assemble both the conventional F-35A and the STOVL F-35B. The FACO site also makes wings for the F-35A.

Speaking at an event held to celebrate the first delivery, Doug Wilhelm, Lockheed Martin F-35 program management vice president, said, “The production of the first F-35B-model, the most technically complex variant, here at the Italian FACO, is a testament to the outstanding capability and quality of the Italian aerospace industry. The Cameri FACO continues to prove itself as a European F-35 center of excellence.”

The Cameri FACO is the only F-35B production facility outside of the USA. To date, nine F-35As and one F-35B have been delivered from the facility. Four of those jets are now based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for international pilot training and five are at Amendola Air Base, Italy.

The Cameri FACO is to produce 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force and retains the capacity to deliver to other European partners in the future.

The F-35 Lightning II fifth generation fighter combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment.

Three variants of the F-35 are being produced for 12 different countries. More than 265 production F-35s have been delivered fleet-wide and more than 550 trained F-35 pilots have flown more than 120,000 flight hours, to date.

January 26, 2018

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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