The aircraft carrier Cavour of the Marina Militare, the Italian Navy, completed the sea trials for the operational use of the F-35B Lightning II in Norfolk, United States.
The first landing of the F-35B on the ship took place on March 1, 2021. “This is a milestone in the process of acquiring the strategic capacity to use the new aircraft, which will be followed, by the end of 2024, by the “Initial Operational Capability” and subsequently the “Final Operation Capability” which will coincide with the delivery of the last F-35B to the Navy planned by the program,” the Italian Navy said.
During the four weeks of trials, two F-35B carried out over 50 flight missions, in different weather conditions and sea conditions, a night session, about 120 vertical landings, and as many short take-offs with the help of the ski jump, and single vertical take-off tests.
“It is extraordinary how the Cavour ship crew and the integrated team have achieved, so quickly, a very high level of synergy and integration with great professionalism and a strong common will to achieve the ambitious goal”, declared the Cavour ship commander Giancarlo Ciappina.
The Navy is awaiting the delivery of fifteen F-35B, the Short take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the fifth-generation fighter jet, to replace the McDonnell Douglas AV8B+ Harrier. The first aircraft is awaited by April 2021.