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January 30, 2018

First locally built F-35B aircraft delivered to Italian MoD

Industry partners Leonardo and Lockheed Martin have delivered the first ever indigenously built F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft to the Italian Ministry of Defence at the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri.

Industry partners Leonardo and Lockheed Martin have delivered the first ever indigenously built F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft to the Italian Ministry of Defence at the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri.

The new short take-off / vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B jet has been assigned for operation with the Italian Navy.

The Italy-based FACO facility is jointly operated by Leonardo and Lockheed Martin and has a workforce of more than 800 personnel, who are currently working on the full assembly of the conventional take-off / landing F-35A and F-35B STOVL aircraft variants, in addition to wing production of the F-35A.

"The production of the first F-35 B-model here at the Italian FACO is a testament to the outstanding capability and quality of the Italian aerospace industry."

Lockheed Martin F-35 Programme Management vice-president Doug Wilhelm said: “The production of the first F-35 B-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 three distinct variants of the F-35 fighter jet will replace and supplement the A-10 and F-16 aircraft for the US Air Force (USAF) and the F/A-18 for the US Navy, as well as the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps (USMC).

Furthermore, the new aircraft will be used to replace a wide range of fighter jets for at least 11 additional countries.

The Italian-built F-35As/Bs will also help replace the traditional Panavia Tornado, AMX and AV-8B aircraft.

A total of nine F-35A fighter jets and one F-35B aircraft have been delivered from the Cameri FACO facility to date.

The FACO facility is the only F-35B manufacturing location outside the US.

It has also been programmed to construct 29 F-35A aircraft for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

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