The primary two F-35Bs delivered to the Italian Navy have returned from the U.S.
The primary two F-35B Lightning II STOVL (Brief Take Off Vertical Touchdown) plane of the Marina Militare (Italian Navy), MM7451/4-01 and MM7452/4-02, landed aboard Cavour plane provider on Dec. 16, 2022, finishing the lengthy return journey from the U.S. that had (just about) began on Nov. 29, with the ceremony held final November 29, on the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, to have fun the tip of the PIA (Pooling Implementing Association) signed in 2018 by the Italian MOD Protection and the US Marine Corps.
The settlement included the switch of the first Italian F-35B at Beaufort and initially foresaw an 18-month length. Marine Fighter Assault Coaching Squadron 501 helped assist the Italian Navy F-35B pilots and maintainers and assisted within the improvement of their natural F-35B coaching program because the service prepares to switch the growing older AV-8B+ Harrier II. Subsequently, to assist the coaching, the Italian Navy despatched to Beaufort its first two F-35Bs whereas the third (MM7454/4-03), which was initially purported to additionally transfer to the US, was delivered to Grottaglie Air Base.
The switch flight from MCAS Beaufort to the flight deck of the Cavour plane provider, that included a technical cease at Lajes Discipline (Azores), was made potential by the shut cooperation and joint coordination between the Italian Navy the Air Pressure. The transatlantic flight was actually supported by a KC-767A refueling plane with the 14° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Pressure which responded to the wants of logistical transport and in-flight Air-to-Air Refueling (BTW, the entire journey required greater than 20 refuelings), by a C-130J plane of the 46^ Brigata Aerea from Pisa and a P-72A from the 41° Stormo from Sigonella which ensured oceanic Search and Rescue (SAR).
Curiously, In the course of the phases that preceded the touchdown on Cavour, the flagship of the Navy, the 2 F-35Bs getting back from the USA have been escorted by a formation of AV-8B+ plane, testifying to the essential transition course of underway between the 4th and fifth era of jet plane the Navy is at the moment working.
Based on the Italian Navy, the return of the 2 plane from the U.S. and the approaching supply of the fourth plane to the Navy, carry the Italian Naval Aviation nearer to reaching the Preliminary Operational Functionality (IOC) with the brand new plane, scheduled for 2024. The primary touchdown of an F-35B belonging to the Italian Navy had occurred in July 2021.