Friday, March 13, 2015

Italy rolls out F-35

First Italian-built F-35 rolls out March 12.
Lockheed Martin photo
CAMERI, Italy -- The first F-35 assembled outside the United States rolled off an assembly line in Italy on Thursday. The fighter, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant designated AL-1, was being assembled at the final assembly and check out (FACO) facility at Cameri Air Base in northern Italy. It's the first of eight for a production run of 90. AL-1 is due to fly for the first time later this year. Cameri will assemble F-35s for Italy and the Netherlands at the facility, which is also being used to build wing sets for Lockheed Martin. The first wing section has been completed and is due to be shipped to Lockheed's Fort Worth, Texas, F-35 production line. Owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense, Cameri is operated by Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi and Lockheed Martin. It currently has 750 workers at the 101-acre facility. The plant has 22 buildings and over a million square feet of covered workspace. Last December, the site was chosen by the U.S. Defense Department as Europe's F-35 airframe maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade center, which should guarantee work for Cameri after Italy's jets have been assembled. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 03/12/15) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center.