Italian Air Force F-35B first lands on Italian Navy aircraft carrier
During the joint exercises, the F-35Bs of the Italian Air Force and Navy integrated for the very first time aboard ITS Cavour and also landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth.
A joint exercise, involving both the Italian Navy aircraft carrier Cavour and the Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth, has taken place in the central Mediterranean Sea in recent days. The exercises, which officially ended on November 21, 2021, saw several âfirstsâ: an Italian Air Force F-35B first landed on the Italian Navy aircraft carrier; Italian Air Force and Navy F-35Bs were first integrated aboard ITS Cavour before landing for the first time on HMS Queen Elizabeth; two operational US Marine Corps F-35Bs deployed aboard the HMSQE operated for the first time from the cockpit of the Italian aircraft carrier.
The end of international activity was closely observed by the recently appointed The Chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragon, who was accompanied for the occasion by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Enrico Credendino and by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Luca Goretti.
âThe air activity aboard the Cavour aircraft carrier, carried out in full synergy between the Navy and the Air Force, represents an important step in the development of the national capacity to project the potential offered by the new aircraft of fifth generation from the sea, the F -35B â, indicates a press release from the Italian MOD.
Admiral Cavo Dragone, congratulating the Navy and Air Force personnel involved in the activity, underlined how “in addition to the excellent skills already acquired by the Air Force F-35A, both in the field operational and in real operations, today’s exercise represents a strong impetus in the process of developing the national aerial projection capability from the sea, with the integration of fifth generation joint tactical multirole aircraft, allowing it is up to our country to be the only one able to guarantee this contribution within the European Union â.
As we have often commented in the past, the joint activity carried out in full synergy between the two Italian services was desirable because it paves the way for more integration: the Italian government is currently purchasing 90 F-35s, of which 60 are F-35As (which will be fully operated by the Aeronautica Militare) and the remaining 30 are F-35Bs. Of these 30 F-35Bs, 15 will go to the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) and 15 to the Air Force. The Lightning II will replace the Navy’s aging AV-8B + Harrier II and will be embarked on the aircraft carrier Cavour and the new one LHD Trieste.
As already explained in the past, the Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati “Wolves”, which will operate the F-35Bs within the Navy, is based in Grottaglie, near the naval port of Taranto, which houses the aircraft carrier Cavour. [and to the Trieste landing helicopter dock (LHD), in the future] and not too far from Amendola, the base of the Italian Air Force which is the MOB (main operating base) of both F-35A and B of the Air Force. While it is still a long way from becoming something real, a joint Air Force and Navy flight line with common logistics and training, it would make perfect sense to make the most of it. entire Italian fleet STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing).
âSynergies between the Navy and the Air Force in the use of F-35Bs aboard the aircraft carrier will also be achieved in use from the ground, operating jointly in operational situations where appropriate airstrips for conventional aircraft are not available â.
Earlier this year, the Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour returned to Italy after testing the F-35B in the United States where it conducted intense training activity with the US Navy aimed at certifying its cockpit for de new planes. After successful sea trials, an Italian F-35B landed for the first time on the aircraft carrier in Italy. Over the past few days, as already mentioned, the aircraft carrier also interacted with the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on the way back to the UK after the first deployment dubbed CSG-21. Indeed, thanks to the high level of interoperability achieved, two Italian F-35Bs (one Navy and one Air Force) landed on the HMSQE and at the same time two F-35Bs from the US Marine Corps, deployed on board the door. -British planes, landed on the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour.
âIn addition to the success of the joint activities carried out by the aircraft of the Italian Navy and Air Force aboard Nave Cavour, today’s interaction with the British aircraft carrier group made it possible to test successful joint technical-operational procedures aimed at achieving full interoperability between the two navies.
A few days ago, an F-35B from RAF 617 Sqn on board the HMSQE crashed for reasons currently under investigation.