First F-35A Delivered Outside the United States
The first delivery of an F-35 outside the United States happened Dec. 3 at the F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility in Cameri, Italy. The first Italian F-35A Lightning II for the Italian armed forces, known as AL-1, marked a production milestone for Italy’s national defense and aerospace industry.
Lt. Gen. Pasquale Preziosa, Chief of the Italian Air Force, welcomes the first Italian F-35A, known as AL-1, into the Italian armed forces at a Dec. 3 acceptance ceremony in Cameri, Italy.
“When Leonardo DaVinci first envisioned human flight as an Italian creation, there is no way he could have imagined what we have here today,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Joint Program Executive Officer. “The F-35 aircraft built here in Cameri will take flight on the wings of Italian craftsmanship, ingenuity, and skill and will help build the first global fleet of fifth generation fighters.”
Italy is the sixth nation to receive an F-35 joining Australia, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States with jets in their service’s inventory.
The F-35s being assembled and delivered at the Italian FACO will transition to Italy’s Aeronautica Militare (Air Force) and Marina Militare (Navy). AL-1 first rolled out of the production facility in March with first flight Sept. 7, one month ahead of schedule. Italy’s first two pilots have begun F-35 flight training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where Cameri-built F-35As will be delivered in 2016 to support international pilot training.
“This is a monumental achievement for the F-35 program,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin F-35 Program General Manager. “The F-35 provides Italy’s aerospace industry with high technology work, ensuring the future health and competitiveness for their defense industry. To date, Italian industry has contracts worth more than $1 billion, along with opportunities for additional work over the life of the program.”