Italian-Built F-35B

The first Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) version of the F-35 Lightning II, or F-35B, assembled outside the United States rolled out of the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility here on May 5.

The first F-35B built at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility rolls out May 5 (Aeronautica Militare Photo)
The first F-35B built at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility rolls out May 5 (Aeronautica Militare Photo)

The rollout exhibits the ongoing strong partnership between the Italian Ministry of Defense, industry partner Leonardo and Lockheed Martin. The Italian FACO is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and is operated by Leonardo in conjunction with Lockheed Martin with a current workforce of more than 800 skilled personnel engaged in full assembly of the Conventional Take-off/Landing (CTOL) F-35A Lightning II and F-35B Lightning II aircraft variants and F-35A Lightning II wing production.

General Claudio Graziano, Italian chief of defense, General Carlo Magrassi, secretary general of defense/director of National Armament, Admiral Mathias Winter, deputy program executive officer at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, Filippo Bagnato, Leonardo Aircraft Division’s Managing Director, and Doug Wilhelm, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Program Management vice president, spoke at the milestone event.

«Italy is not only a valued F-35 Lightning II program partner that has achieved many F-35 Lightning II program ‘firsts’, but is also a critical NATO air component force, providing advanced airpower for the alliance for the coming decades», Wilhelm said. «Italian industry has participated in the design of the F-35 Lightning II and Italian industry made components fly on every production F-35 Lightning II built to date».

The jet’s first flight is anticipated in late August and it is programmed to be delivered to the Italian Ministry of Defense in November. In addition, two Italian F-35A Lightning II aircraft will deliver from Cameri this year, the first by July and the second in the fourth quarter. To date, seven F-35As have been delivered from the Cameri FACO; four of those jets are now based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for international pilot training and three are at Amendola Air Base, near Foggio on the Adriatic coast. The Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) has already flown more than 100 flight hours in its Amendola-based F-35As.

After a series of confidence flights from Cameri, an Italian pilot will fly their first F-35B Lightning II jet to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, early in 2018 to conduct required Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification. The next Italian F-35B Lightning II aircraft is scheduled for delivery in November 2018. The Cameri FACO has the only F-35B Lightning II production capability outside the United States and is programmed to produce a total of 30 Italian F-35Bs and 60 Italian F-35As, along with 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and retains the capacity to deliver to other European partners in the future.

The Italian FACO is also producing 835 F-35A Lightning II full wing sets to support all customers in the program. The FACO was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2014 as the F-35 Lightning II Heavy Airframe Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade facility for the European region. The 101-acre facility includes 22 buildings and more than one million square feet of covered work space, housing 11 assembly stations, and five maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade bays.

On September 7, 2015, the first Italian-produced F-35 Lightning II built at the Cameri FACO made the first international flight in F-35 Lightning II program history, and in February 2016, the F-35A Lightning II made the program’s first trans-Atlantic crossing. In December 2016, the Italian Air Force’s first F-35s arrived at the first in-country base, Amendola AB.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 Lightning II will replace the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon for the U.S. Air Force, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 11 other countries. The Italian F-35As and Bs replace the legacy Panavia Tornado, AMX and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II aircraft. More than 200 production F-35s have been delivered fleet-wide and have flown more than 90,000 flight hours.

 

Specifications

Length 51.2 feet/15.6 m
Height 14.3 feet/4.36 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 21.8 feet/6.65 m
Weight empty 32,300 lbs/14,651 kg
Internal fuel capacity 13,500 lbs/6,125 kg
Weapons payload 15,000 lbs/6,800 kg
Maximum weight 60,000 lbs class/27,215 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-600
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/18,597 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/12,247 kgf
Short Take Off Thrust 40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf
Hover Thrust 40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf
Main Engine 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Lift Fan 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Roll Post 3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf
Main Engine Length 369 inch/9.37 m
Main Engine Inlet Diameter 43 inch/1.09 m
Main Engine Maximum Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Lift Fan Inlet Diameter 51 inch/1,30 m
Lift Fan Maximum Diameter 53 inch/1,34 m
Conventional Bypass Ratio 0.57
Powered Lift Bypass Ratio 0.51
Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio 29
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >450 NM/517.6 miles/833 km
Range (internal fuel) >900 NM/1,036 miles/1,667 km
Max g-rating 7.0
Planned Quantities
U.S. Marine Corps 340
U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy 138
Italy 30
In total 508

 

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