The first F-35B assembled outside the United States rolled out of the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility in Cameri, Italy on 5th May.
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 personnel engaged in full assembly of the Conventional Take-off/Landing F-35A and Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing F-35B aircraft variants, as well as F-35A wing production.
The jet's first flight is currently scheduled for late August, followed by delivery to the Italian Ministry of Defense in November. In addition, two Italian F-35A aircraft will be delivered 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 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 jet to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, early in 2018 to conduct required Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification. The next Italian F-35B aircraft is scheduled for delivery in November 2018.
The Cameri FACO has the only F-35B 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.
The Italian FACO is also producing 835 F-35A full wing sets to support all customers in the programme.