The first Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to be built outside of the United States was handed over to the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 25 January, it has been announced.
The short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter was assembled at the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri in Italy ahead of its eventual delivery to the Italian Navy. Previously, a number of non-US conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A aircraft have been built at Cameri and at Nagoya in Japan.
Italy has a requirement for 30 F-35Bs (15 each to be operated by the Italian Air Force and the Italian Navy) and 60 F-35As. The first test, evaluation, and training F-35A was delivered to the air force in December 2015, with the final JSF scheduled to be handed over in 2027.
To date, nine F-35As and one F-35B have been delivered from the Cameri FACO. Four of these jets are now based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for international pilot training, and five are at Amendola Air Base in Italy.
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