The first Italian-assembled F-35A Lightning II took off on its maiden flight, making the type’s European debut from Cameri AB, Italy, on Sept. 7, Lockheed Martin announced. “The first flight of AL-1 is a monumental achievement thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi and Lockheed Martin teammates,” company F-35 Manager Lorraine Martin said in a release. The Italian air force’s Cameri final assembly and check out facility completed work on AL-1 in March, and will soon turn out F-35As for the Italian and Dutch air forces, and F-35Bs for the Italian navy. “As expected, the jet performed exceptionally well and without any surprises,” added company test pilot Bill Gigliotti. In addition to assembling F-35s, the government owned and industry operated Cameri facility plans to produce 835 full wing sets for Italian and international F-35s. The Lightning II will replace Italy’s AV-8B Harrier, AMX Ghibli, and Panavia Tornado IDS/ECR fleets.
Supply chain and vanishing vendor issues make supporting old nuclear systems increasingly difficult, Global Strike Command’s logistics and engineering chief Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell said. Additive printing will be a big help but can be hampered by bureaucracy.