May 5 (UPI) — The first F-35B Lightning II manufactured outside of the United States has rolled out of a Final Assembly and Checkout, or FACO, facility in Cameri, Italy.
The facility is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and run by the defense industry firm Leonardo in cooperation with Lockheed Martin.
“Italy is not only a valued F-35 program partner that has achieved many F-35 program firsts, but is also a critical NATO component force, providing advanced airpower for the alliance for the coming decades,” Doug Wilhelm, vice president of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Program, said in a press release. “Italian industry has participated in the design of the F-35 and Italian industry made components fly on every production F-35 built to date.”
The first flight of the jet is expected to be in August with delivery to the Italian Ministry of Defense in November. Two F-35A models are anticipated to be delivered from the Cameri FACO in November.
The FACO is slated to deliver 30 F-25B and 90 F-35A type fighters for the Italian armed forces. It will also produce 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
The facility will also produce 835 full wing sets that will be distributed across all participants in the program, along with other parts and maintenance equipment.