By Juliet Van Wagenen | September 8, 2015
|Italy’s first F-35A Lightning II, known as AL-1. Photo: Lockheed Martin|
[Avionics Today 09-08-2015] Italy’s first F-35A Lightning II, known as AL-1 and assembled at the Cameri Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility, flew for the first time this week marking the program’s first-ever F-35 flight outside the United States. The Italian government owns the Cameri FACO and Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, in association with Lockheed Martin, operates it.
“Italy’s ‘primo volo’ (first flight) sets a firm foundation for Italy’s F-35 program and future opportunities for the Cameri FACO,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin F-35 Program general manager.
The Cameri FACO’s F-35 production operations began in July 2013 and rolled out Italy’s first F-35A aircraft, AL-1, in March. AL-1’s official delivery to Italy is expected by the end of the year. The facility will assemble both Italy’s F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant and the F-35B short takeoff/vertical-landing variant, and plans to assemble the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s F-35A aircraft in the future. The F-35A and F-35B will replace Italian Air Force and Italian Navy AV-8 Harriers, Panavia Tornados and AMX fighters.