Gulf of Taranto, Ionian Sea. Today, 30 July, a Navy F-35B is docked for the first time on board the Cavour aircraft carrier, after the test and certification activity carried out with US aircraft during the “Ready for Operations” (RFO) campaign concluded at the end of April this year. This is the third aircraft assigned to the Marina Militare and just withdrawn from the assembly plant in Cameri (NO), while the previous two are in the United States to support the training of pilots of the Armed Forces.
“Today we are witnessing the landing on the Cavour aircraft carrier of the first F-35 of the Marina Militare: a great step towards the strategic goal of providing Defense and Italy with an aircraft carrier capability with the latest generation of aircraft on board. A capacity that projects us into an elite of a few countries in the world, thus raising the level and international weight of Italy “, said the Chief of Staff of the Marina Militare, team admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone.
The arrival of the aircraft represents a fundamental step in the process of replacing the AV-8B Plus Harriers. The Marina Militare plans to obtain the initial operational capacity (IOC) by 2024 and, subsequently, the Final Operational Capability – FOC, after the delivery of the last aircraft to the Marina Militare. Arriving on board the aircraft allows pilots to soon begin training in the acquisition of the so-called “Bravo Feature”, or the qualification for assembly and take-off from the flight decks of Marina Militare ships, which in the case of fixed-wing aircraft operating as aircraft carriers (Aircraft Carriers), is called Carrier Qualification (CQ).