Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 13:01
by Dragon029
Italy's not saying it's achieved "initial operational capability" in those terms, but this announcement states that the F-35As of 32 Stormo (32nd Wing) are now incorporated into Italy's national air defence system, meaning they'll be used in the Servizio Sorveglianza Spazio Aereo (Airspace Surveillance Service) for intercepts and at least defensive combat should the need arise.

Source: http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/comuni ... onale.aspx

Google translation:

The F-35 aircraft of the 32nd Stormo implement the national air defense system

05/03/2018 05 Marzo 2018
Autore Magg. Leonardo Del Vecchio

In Amendola the operation of the new 5th generation weapon system supplied to the AM started

From March 1, 2018, the JSF assets of the 32nd Wing of Amendola (FG) are officially part of the National Air Defense device as they are functionally included in the Air Space Surveillance Service (SSSA), a fundamental institutional task of the AM.

The achievement of this important objective is part of the broader development of the countless operational capabilities of the F-35 weapon system. The validation of this capacity was obtained through an intense and complex training of the crews and technical staff of the Department and following numerous tests carried out with positive results in full synergy and coordination with the other Armed Forces in charge of the Air Defense.

This testifies to the wide operational versatility of the weapon system, designed to perform many types of air operations, with the unique characteristic of being able to receive and redistribute an extraordinary flow of information essential for achieving information superiority, a nodal element of the complex aerial operations.

Thanks to the implementation of this operational capability, the F-35 multi - role firearm system will make a valuable contribution in ensuring the defense of national airspace from possible threats against the country and its citizens.

The 32nd Stormo, the first Department in Europe to acquire JSF aircraft, also carries out operational, training and technical activities of Predator piloted aircraft in order to acquire and maintain the capacity to carry out national and coalition ISTAR operations. Furthermore, it provides and completes the training of the APR pilots through the MB-339 aircraft in order to ensure an adequate level of training on traditional piloted aircraft.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 14:23
by nutshell
Oh my, forgot to post it.

Btw it's the official AMI website so it's real.

Atm we've the most advanced air force in the EU :mrgreen:

(I assume the brits dont have declared their f35s IOC'ed).

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 15:01
by element1loop
Congrats Italy! :cheers:

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 15:31
by vilters
Congrats on a fine piece of paper.
How mant are code1?

One or both? :devil:
Because you are not going to even "try" to tell us that you can launch a flight of 4, fully armed and ready for combat, at NATO's command in let's say 15 minutes from now?

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 17:17
by blindpilot
vilters wrote:Congrats on a fine piece of paper.
How mant are code1?

One or both? :devil:
Because you are not going to even "try" to tell us that you can launch a flight of 4, fully armed and ready for combat, at NATO's command in let's say 15 minutes from now?


Keep up. Italy has 9 F-35A's and a F-35B and the assembly there continues with 1 each on the line. They can launch a 4 ship, even with a 50% availability rate. Now 15 Minutes? Well if you wanted to put them on alert... Yes could be done.

FWIW,
BP

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 23:04
by ricnunes
Congratulations to Italy indeed! :D

And I agree with nutshell -> The most advanced Air Force in the EU indeed, take that France :mrgreen:

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 10:38
by loke
ROME — Italy’s commitment to the F-35 fighter jet may be in doubt, as an Italian political party which has promised to scrap the program edges closer to power.

Formed in 2009 to fight corruption and waste in politics, Five Star officials last year said they would scrap the F-35 program if they took office.

“There will be no ifs or buts about leaving the F-35 program,” Tatiana Basilio, a Five Star member of Parliament, said in May.



https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... ars-power/

They cannot possibly be so stupid??

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 10:47
by marsavian
Basilio said Italy should have opted instead to upgrade its Eurofighter aircraft to take on the strike role destined for the F-35.


It all depends on whether they can form a coalition government and that their coalition partners agree. I don't know how strongly the rest of the parties feel about F-35 but it seems like another case of Trudeauitis at play here where these politicians listen more to public critics than their paid military on defense.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 17:04
by ricnunes
My take on the political situation in Italy regarding that "5 start" coalition parties and the F-35 is the following:
- They are a coalition of "populist" parties which one of its banners is to create jobs for the Italians - If they scrap the F-35 lots and lots of Italian jobs would be lost (which would contradict one of its most important banners) or did they forgot that Italy hosts a F-35 factory which builds/assembles complete F-35s?
Anyway I don't think that such thing could happen (Italy canceling the F-35) but then again the human being (actually some human beings) can be really, really stupid! :bang:

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 17:18
by hythelday
Basilio said Italy should have opted instead to upgrade its Eurofighter aircraft to take on the strike role destined for the F-35


I heard that if you strap a JATO booster on, Typhoon could take off from Cavour too.

Nutshell, in "the Germans" thread you mentioned that this star party was strongly opposing B61s too, keep us updated!

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 01:44
by nutshell
ricnunes wrote:My take on the political situation in Italy regarding that "5 start" coalition parties and the F-35 is the following:
- They are a coalition of "populist" parties which one of its banners is to create jobs for the Italians - If they scrap the F-35 lots and lots of Italian jobs would be lost (which would contradict one of its most important banners) or did they forgot that Italy hosts a F-35 factory which builds/assembles complete F-35s?
Anyway I don't think that such thing could happen (Italy canceling the F-35) but then again the human being (actually some human beings) can be really, really stupid! :bang:


No, all the parties are actually interested in cutting the JSF program right now. The next DPEF should be around 20B and the cut would cover for it. It's the easy way.

Still wondering how that M5S meme is surviving tho(the movement won't even be elected anyway), since in reality, it's the only party that is prioritizing on getting the needed money from the reforming of public administration; which would net over 10B per year alone (so it's the real long term solution) and the re-taxation of the VLTs industry (which is a plague here evading some serious biillions thanks to the former Letta's government).

Now, Leonardo is a big company but not THAT big NS in case you didn't know, it's equally involved in the Eurofighter consortium.
So, the company would get their money one way or another. The jobs lost is sort of a non issue there.

You know, Italy don't need the F35. Italy need the founds to restart the country or else, it's facing starvation. We're not talking about some houndred of thousands of jobs here, but fu*ing tens of millions.

This is MUCH MUCH bigger than any plane in the world. Much bigger then ANYTHING you might (wrongly) know about the domestic situation of this country.

Let me put in this way, even if i'm a BIG F35 fanboy:

Joining the program was a M-I-S-T-A-K-E.
We never had the resources to commit. That was a horribly IRRESPONSIBLE act from the past administrations.
Sure, nobody could ever predict the 2011 crisis, but that was the time to at the VERY LEAST halt the acquisition.

You know, i'd love to buy me the new 488 Pista. I'd go smash people on track with it. But i can't irremediably indebt my family and the family of my children just because i want a good lap around the Nurburgring. You get it?


By the way, the Air Force really needs it and want it. Leonardo would go to the court and the repercussion for the State would be massive. Too late to stop the ball.

p.s.: You should read Casapound manifesto. Those fascists want to get out of the JSF, NATO, the EU and start different domestic projects. I was like "these dudes must be on drugs" when listening to their leader.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 04:20
by magitsu
Yeah right.

You only need to take a quick look towards Aviano's nuke storage (the largest one in continental Europe) to see why at least limited F-35A purchase is vital for Italy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_sharing
It would be stupid to start a domestic program for that kind of limited need. But having it there is indeed a vital security policy need, because it ensures that the US has to be committed to Italy more than most in the region. Not having them there would cost even more, since you'd need to replace that defensive asset with something of your own.

There's a real need for both nuke and carrier purposes and no other alternatives once the Tornado retires. Apart from that it was probably some kind of small bet that there could be business in it for the Italian aviation sector. They wanted one of the plants where finished F-35s come out, like Japan. Thus far it hasn't paid off, but who knows. Cutting their own order short would ensure a big write off. That plant in Cameri must have cost at least a billion extra to get. Never mind the private sector investment. "The Italian F-35 program’s production phase alone is expected to bring $15.8 billion of economic benefits to the Italian economy." https://www.f35.com/global/participatio ... ticipation
http://www.sldinfo.com/cameri-italy-and ... al-report/

This path of political folly would just lead to Italian procurement becoming similar laughing stock like Canada. A lot of fuzz, but in the end the clowns realize that there's no better alternative.
There's also 75 Tornados to replace. Italian Navy might be argued went too far by getting 29 F-35B after having 15 Harriers. But it should've been considered when building new naval platforms. It would make no sense to buy them and then not have enough planes on them. Though the Royal Navy is kind of doing something similar with QE and low F-35B numbers. :P

Italy's number isn't even that big. 131 for a country with GDP (PPP) of $2.233 trillion. Australia buys 72 with GDP (PPP) of $1.24 trillion. Norway buys 52 with GDP (PPP) of $0.405 trillion.

Basically Italy wants to be a certain sized player internationally, which means certain things with regard to keeping up necessary military capabilities.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 10:57
by loke
magitsu wrote:Yeah right.

You only need to take a quick look towards Aviano's nuke storage (the largest one in continental Europe) to see why at least limited F-35A purchase is vital for Italy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_sharing
It would be stupid to start a domestic program for that kind of limited need.


A lot of stupid things have happened in politics wordwide, including in Italy.

Unfortunately stupid things will happen again, it's just a question of time.

Really really stupid (and horrendous) things have not happened in Europe since the end of WW2.

I hope I am wrong and the trend towards more protectionism, nationalism/fascism will be reversed.

If not, anything can happen.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 14:45
by mixelflick
This is really exciting..

I read he IOC only related to the air to air mission, but still. F-35's are rapidly proliferating around the globe, and it's only going to accelerate from here. They're in Europe. They're in the Middle and Far East. Soon, they'll be in NH LOL.

This wouldn't have been possible with the F-22 due to export bans, so in retrospect going with the F-35 was the right decision. I think we all agree we could use another 200 Raptors, but it is what it is. The F-35 will soon be seeing combat (somewhere, probably the Middle East) and it's going to be REAL interesting when it bumps up against Russian (or export) SU-30's, SU-35's etc. If it goes the way we all think, it'll be the death of Russian export airframes.

That event (F-35 downs a Flanker) would do more to hurt the Russian (air) defense industry more than any other. It may be that the only country ordering more Flankers in the future is... Russia.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 14:52
by nutshell
magitsu wrote:Yeah right.

You only need to take a quick look towards Aviano's nuke storage (the largest one in continental Europe) to see why at least limited F-35A purchase is vital for Italy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_sharing
It would be stupid to start a domestic program for that kind of limited need. But having it there is indeed a vital security policy need, because it ensures that the US has to be committed to Italy more than most in the region. Not having them there would cost even more, since you'd need to replace that defensive asset with something of your own.

There's a real need for both nuke and carrier purposes and no other alternatives once the Tornado retires. Apart from that it was probably some kind of small bet that there could be business in it for the Italian aviation sector. They wanted one of the plants where finished F-35s come out, like Japan. Thus far it hasn't paid off, but who knows. Cutting their own order short would ensure a big write off. That plant in Cameri must have cost at least a billion extra to get. Never mind the private sector investment. "The Italian F-35 program’s production phase alone is expected to bring $15.8 billion of economic benefits to the Italian economy." https://www.f35.com/global/participatio ... ticipation
http://www.sldinfo.com/cameri-italy-and ... al-report/

This path of political folly would just lead to Italian procurement becoming similar laughing stock like Canada. A lot of fuzz, but in the end the clowns realize that there's no better alternative.
There's also 75 Tornados to replace. Italian Navy might be argued went too far by getting 29 F-35B after having 15 Harriers. But it should've been considered when building new naval platforms. It would make no sense to buy them and then not have enough planes on them. Though the Royal Navy is kind of doing something similar with QE and low F-35B numbers. :P

Italy's number isn't even that big. 131 for a country with GDP (PPP) of $2.233 trillion. Australia buys 72 with GDP (PPP) of $1.24 trillion. Norway buys 52 with GDP (PPP) of $0.405 trillion.

Basically Italy wants to be a certain sized player internationally, which means certain things with regard to keeping up necessary military capabilities.


You dont need to give me numbers to state the obvious: technically speaking the winged services are in dire need of the F35.

Still, you dont expect Albania or Moldavia or whatever to buy a 5th gen plane. They have no money.
Italy is in THAT position.
Cannot be any easier than this.

The economic benefit is a moot point. Already said the (disastrous) the reason.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2018, 15:47
by loke
nutshell wrote:You dont need to give me numbers to state the obvious: technically speaking the winged services are in dire need of the F35.

Still, you dont expect Albania or Moldavia or whatever to buy a 5th gen plane. They have no money.
Italy is in THAT position.
Cannot be any easier than this.

The economic benefit is a moot point. Already said the (disastrous) the reason.


Regarding the financial aspects: Given what Italy has already invested in the F-35 it seems to me that it would be better to keep going -- sure a lot of costs will still incur on the other hand there will also be many highly skilled high-paid jobs related to this and although it is quite expensive, you will get a lot of the money back. Think of all the F-35s that will be built, and all the work Italy will get in return for being an F-35 partner.

How much are you paying for the Italian F-35? And how much will you be getting back? It is not just the FACO, I am sure there are many other export contracts on the F-35 that will be going to the Italian companies.

Norway so far is set to get much less in return compared to what we are putting in (financially). Oh well. At least we still have a few drops of oil left.

Edit:

Italian F-35 production is expected to generate more than 6,300 total jobs at peak production. The demand for labor will reach its highest levels between 2017 and 2026, when an average of 5,400 jobs are projected to be sustained annually.

The Italian F-35 program’s production phase alone is expected to bring $15.8 billion of economic benefits to the Italian economy.

Each Italian F-35 production job creates an additional 1.2 jobs in the Italian economy.

The economic potential for Italy through the F-35 program is a direct function of the number of aircraft procured on the planned acquisition timeline.

https://www.f35.com/global/participatio ... ticipation

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 17:12
by ricnunes
nutshell wrote:No, all the parties are actually interested in cutting the JSF program right now. The next DPEF should be around 20B and the cut would cover for it. It's the easy way.


Still wondering how that M5S meme is surviving tho(the movement won't even be elected anyway), since in reality, it's the only party that is prioritizing on getting the needed money from the reforming of public administration; which would net over 10B per year alone (so it's the real long term solution) and the re-taxation of the VLTs industry (which is a plague here evading some serious biillions thanks to the former Letta's government).


First of all, thanks for the insight of what's happening in your country.
Learning from someone "from the inside" is usually more accurate or at least gives a different perception compared to what can be learned from the outside.


nutshell wrote:Now, Leonardo is a big company but not THAT big NS in case you didn't know, it's equally involved in the Eurofighter consortium.
So, the company would get their money one way or another. The jobs lost is sort of a non issue there.


However I fully disagree with the part you posted which I quoted just above, specially and namely with the part which I put on bold and underline.
You know, the Eurofighter production line is doomed to cease/close in the rather near term (near-to-medium term at best). From now on, if new/more 100 Eurofighters are to be manufactured in the future (on top of the currently planed ones) that would already be a best case scenario! And how many of such new Eurofighters would actually be build in Italy (if any)??

Now compare with the F-35 production line which is only starting up (including the Italian production line) with the currently planned F-35s which I strongly believe that in Italy alone already surpasses the planned Eurofighter production (also in Italy) and together with this add the potential and very likely possible future orders from countries inside Europe, such as Belgium, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Poland, etc... and who knows, also likely add orders from some countries outside Europe as well.
And note, I'm speaking only about the Italian F-35 production line here.

What I mean here is that Italy would never recover the job loses and the investment if suddenly Italy cancels/drops the F-35 and focus only on the Eurofighter. Or putting into other worlds, investing in the Eurofighter instead would NEVER and EVER offset, let alone surpass the returns in money and jobs that the F-35 production line grants to Italy.


nutshell wrote:You know, Italy don't need the F35. Italy need the founds to restart the country or else, it's facing starvation. We're not talking about some houndred of thousands of jobs here, but fu*ing tens of millions.


Again I disagree.
What Italy doesn't need are Tornados, Eurofighters and AV-8Bs!
Retire all these redundant aircraft and maintain a fleet composed only by F-35As and F-35Bs and in the process you'll (Italy) have:
1- A top notch air force, one of the best and most capable air/naval forces in the world.
2- Save Billions of actual Euros in the process!

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 18:37
by marsavian
It's not even certain that 5-star will be in government and then there may have to be compromises between partners. I would think what is more likely is a three way coalition between the Northern League, Berlusconi's party and the just ousted Centre Left party. The Centre Left could tie up with 5-star but then they would be a junior partner whereas they would be the largest single party if they teamed up with the Centre Right pair. Italy has a serious economic split where the industrial North has benefited from the Euro and the rural South hasn't which is where 5-star got the majority of its votes. F-35 is the least of their problems now, getting a stable government which can lead and unite the whole country is their biggest. Even 5-star have said they will keep the F-35s already bought and contracted for.They just want to cut total defense costs for social benefits redistribution mainly for the unemployed.

Italian election lays bare gaping north-south divide

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ital ... SKCN1GL24W

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2018, 02:05
by Corsair1963
ricnunes wrote:What Italy doesn't need are Tornados, Eurofighters and AV-8Bs!
Retire all these redundant aircraft and maintain a fleet composed only by F-35As and F-35Bs and in the process you'll (Italy) have:
1- A top notch air force, one of the best and most capable air/naval forces in the world.
2- Save Billions of actual Euros in the process!



Plus, those new F-35's would come from an Italian Plant.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2018, 16:02
by ricnunes
Corsair1963 wrote:
ricnunes wrote:What Italy doesn't need are Tornados, Eurofighters and AV-8Bs!
Retire all these redundant aircraft and maintain a fleet composed only by F-35As and F-35Bs and in the process you'll (Italy) have:
1- A top notch air force, one of the best and most capable air/naval forces in the world.
2- Save Billions of actual Euros in the process!



Plus, those new F-35's would come from an Italian Plant.


Precisely, which brings us a 3rd advantage:
3- Keep thousands of jobs and a sustainable (into the future kind of sustainable :wink: ) military aircraft production plant/industry in the country (Italy) and not something like a military aircraft production plant/industry which manufactures aircraft of yesterday (to fly tomorrow) like the French and Germans are doing (and now that we're at it, like Boeing in the USA is also doing) which IMO are doomed to vanish rather sooner than later.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 01:41
by nutshell
Without quoting everybody because more ore less, you're right.

The technical side: we DESPERATELY need the F35. Our fleet is generally speaking old. Not really torn apart from high usage, but old in age and mostly old in tech.

Faco is a good local economic boost. Now, political parties from every corner of the parliament would argue that, in the very end, it turned out to be not half as what it was supposed to deliver. But that half is still good and a good government would at least try to fix what went wrong. Faco is indeed, in my eyes, a still solid opportunity.

But going back at what the country needed, that wasn't the F35. The country needed other things before joining the JSF. Things that would free us resources to get the F35 nonetheless. Actually, we might have come a bit later but acquiring a bigger numbers. Who knows what could've happend.

Our hastiness left somehow the program itself vulnerable to drastic decisions that are only good to grab quick votes, put a quick band-aid fix just to postpone the real issue (at higher number).That is something that really pisses me off.
It's quite known that giving methadone to heroine addict isn't really an effective way to cure them from the addiction. Canceling the F35 is the methadone. But the addiction to corruption and inefficiencies would persist.

I didn't really think on the eventuality of ditching the JSF to keep the EF sales going. Oh god... at that point god bless we opted to join the program. We dodged a silver bullet there lol.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 02:08
by nutshell
ricnunes wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:
-snip


There are more subtle good things about it too which i think are worth mentioning:

- More appeal to the Navy winged service, since Harriers are known to be a bit complicated and generally evaded by the new comers. Pilots starvation it's not something to be underestimates in here.

- Some know-how will be passively acquired thanks to the FACO experience. Much more than what we could get even if both Ansaldo and Leonardo expanded their Typhoon business.

- It might diplomatically help with Trump's administration. In this very moment, every little bit help.

- (speculation on my part) Might help with keeping at bay the aggressiveness of Turkey in case FACO is responsible for Turkish F35 maintenance .

- Resources saved by avoiding pointless Typhoon fleet upgrades (what happend to efem? Also, new captor-E, strike mission upgrades and many more) might be redirected to Fincantieri which is really, really going strong lately. They pulled off some very nice machinery (new ships, the new subs etc).

- Promote the vast joint programs which i think are the future of the western military industry. If all europe could really unite and cooperate with the US, the next JSF would be something truly glorious. Hopefully latest Trump's decision won't affect this branch of industry.

- Makes training for new pilots vastly, flat out,better. I don't think this point is stressed out sufficiently. I don't think i'm exaggerating by saying 95/97% of our roster has literally 0 combat experience. You could argue that is the same with the US Navy or Air Force, but the issue is that 3 % of couple of thousands is much, much better than the same 3% of couple hundreds (which are on the way out of retirement too).Since we cannot afford Red Flags and the likes, the VR training system of the JSF is a blessing. A miracle if you wish.

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 02:47
by Corsair1963
Italy flying QRA's with F-35's.....must be driving the critics crazy! :wink:

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 28 Jun 2018, 09:50
by spazsinbad
Eight page PDF of article in English attached. The most boring article about the F-35 read so far, just same old same old.
Quinta generazione Italiana
July 2018 Riccardo Niccoli

"Riccardo Niccoli visited Italy’s F-35 wing at Amendola in the southern province of Puglia..."

Source: AIR International Magazine July 2018 Vol.95 No.1

Re: Italy (effectively) declares F-35 IOC

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2018, 03:15
by spazsinbad
Italy F-35s reach initial operating capability
30 Nov 2018 Tom Kington

"Italian Air Force F-35s have reached initial operating capability, Gen. Alberto Rosso, the country’s air force chief, said Nov. 30. The announcement marked the first time the aircraft has achieved the milestone in Europe. Officials broke the news at Italy’s Amendola Air Base in southern Italy, where eight Italian F-35s are stationed...

...Italy has said it will order 90 F-35s, including 60 F-35As and 30 F-35Bs, although the current Italian government, which took office in June, has declined to provide a final total.

Italy has thus far taken delivery of 10 F-35As and one F-35B. Two of the As and the B aircraft are being used for training in the United States, while eight of the As have been deployed to Amendola. However, one aircraft is back at the Italian assembly line for maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade. The Italian aircraft have totaled 2,000 flying hours.

A series of milestones since the delivery of the first aircraft to Amendola in December 2016 prompted officials to declare the new milestone. Those included the placing of aircraft on operational alert status in March. Then in June, four aircraft were deployed to Rivolto air base in northern Italy where they flew training exercises across the border at Polygone electronic warfare range in Germany. “The weather was terrible and it played a major part in the obtaining of IOC,” said one official....

...Base commander Col. Davide Marzinotto said another key factor was upgrading all eight aircraft to Block 3F software from the previous Block 3i. “The U.S. Marines declared IOC with Block 3i, but we decided on the upgrade to 3F before doing so,” he said. Weaponry enabled through Block 3i included the AMRAAM missile, and GBU 12 and 31 munitions. With Block 3F software, Gatling guns can be used as well as the GBU 39 small diameter bomb.

Marzinotto said he was monitoring the F-35’s ALIS logistics system, which has raised concern over the potential need among F-35 partners to share sensitive data on aircraft use in order to benefit from the common system. “ALIS is a new approach and there was a need to find a right balance between sovereignty and support, given that when you want to share spare parts supply you need to share information,” he said.

“ALIS is a great evolution,” he added, but “it is a challenge to protect information. After air forces asked for it, we will be the first outside the U.S. to receive, in the first quarter of next year, an upgrade to satisfy the careful sharing of information.”"

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/11 ... apability/