F-35 - The Italian Perspective

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doge

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Unread post24 Jul 2019, 19:11

This time, the Italian news, I tried to look for search at the site of Gov/Mod or Air Force in Italy. (dug.dug.)
Posting will be longer again. Please pardon. :notworthy: language is all Italian. I used Google Translate.
The three articles to post, the content that was written was moderately interesting.

Italy ver fact.
http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/comuni ... ureF35.pdf
F-35 the evolution of aerospace power from air superiority to information superiority
CAPACITY AND SPECIAL FEATURES
-The F-35 is a technologically advanced weapon system and belongs to the 5th generation of combat aircraft.
-It is a multi-role fighter whose peculiar characteristics make it able to respond to a variety of operational requirements.
-The F-35 is part of the complex evolutionary and transformation concept of the Aeronautics, increasingly efficient and integrated at the inter-force level which, in addition to guaranteeing the defense of the territory and the protection of national sovereignty, can express significant operational capabilities for and in the geopolitical system of international security.
-An evolution aimed at developing persistent surveillance capabilities and awareness of the operating situation, high mobility, more extensive integrated air defense capabilities and precision engagement.
-The F-35 is equipped with capabilities and technologies that will allow its use in operational activities in support of our land and naval forces and especially at the inter-agency level, collaborating with the other Departments in a wide range of activities for safety and for the good of the country.
-The uniqueness of the F-35 weapon system can be traced back to the synergy of the following fundamental characteristics that outline its peculiar capabilities

1 Very low radar and infrared observability
-The stealthiness or more properly the very low visibility (Very Low Observability) is a "native" feature of a weapon system, like the F-35. It cannot be "added" in later stages.
-Aircraft shape, engine, materials, edge and coating systems are developed to maintain radar and infrared signature at minimal threshold levels.
-The very low visibility allows the F-35 to be hardly discovered by enemy radars and anti-aircraft systems.

2 Superior combat performance.
-The F-35 thanks to the possibility of internally storing its armament keeps the low visibility unchanged and reduces the aerodynamic resistance to the advantage of aerodynamic performance.
-On the contrary, 4th generation aircraft require the use of additional equipment which further reduces operating parameters (speed, radar visibility, range, range of action, war load).
-The significant availability of fuel in internal tanks also allows the F-35 to operate with an unrivaled range of action and hourly autonomy, allowing a significant reduction in the use of tanker aircraft.

3 Netcentric operations.
-The F-35 can collect a significant amount of detailed information and communications in real time from a variety of different sources: surface ships, flying aircraft, fighter or radar aircraft, satellites, systems and ground forces.
-The information, images and data collected by their sensors are promptly distributed to the other weapon systems present in the operations area and to the command and control centers, helping to acquire an in-depth awareness of the operational situation necessary for all institutional decision makers , political and military.
-The F-35 is comparable to a server that, through a protected network, distributes to the various users the specific information necessary for the performance of the respective missions.
-Consistent Information Superiority capabilities able to contribute to the evolutionary concept of the Air Force.

4 Advanced Logistics Support.
-An advanced system of prognostics and aircraft management aims to guarantee maximum availability in terms of efficiency and rate of use, simplifying aircraft maintenance processes.
-The aircraft interfaces with the integrated logistics IT system, called ALIS (Autonomic Logistic Information System), which allows you to manage requests, movements and distributions of spare parts on a global scale, in a timely manner and according to the principle of just in time.

Questions and answers on the F-35:
-1 What is the difference between a 4th and a 5th generation aircraft?
In a nutshell, the elements that distinguish the F-35 from 4th generation aircraft are: the very low radar observability and thermal signature (stealthiness); the complete integration of discovery and communication systems (sensor fusion); the ability to exchange information (net-centricity); a profoundly innovative logistics philosophy based on an automated and widespread global support network.

-2 Which versions of the aircraft are of interest to the Air Force?
For our FA, two versions of the aircraft are planned: the F-35A, or conventional take-off and landing (Conventional Take Off and Landing - CTOL), and the F-35B, short takeoff and vertical landing (Short Take Off Vertical Landing - STOVL). There is also a third version, not of interest to the AM, the F-35C for use on conventional aircraft carriers equipped with catapults.

-3 Which FA aircraft will replace?
The F-35 will replace the Tornado and AMX aircraft.

-4 Which departments of the AM will be equipped with F-35 aircraft?
The F-35 fleet for the Italian Air Force will be distributed on two main bases: the 32nd Wing of Amendola (FG) and the 6th Wing of Ghedi (BS). On the basis of Amendola, the first 2 aircraft entered online on 12 December 2016.

-5 What is being done for the F-35 at the Cameri Base AM?
At the Cameri Military Airport an industrial plant called FACO (Final Assembly and Check Out) was built where the Italian F-35 aircraft are assembled and part of those destined for European countries. A significant number of the so-called "wing assembly" is also produced, a component that constitutes, by itself, about one third of the structure of the F-35 aircraft. All over the world there are only three assembly lines for the F-35: the Cameri FACO is one of these. This implies a significant return in terms of industrial benefits at national level and therefore for the country's economy.

-6 What is its name: F-35 or JSF?
The full name is "F-35 Lightning II (JSF)". The acronym JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) identifies the acquisition program, while "F-35" is the name of the aircraft that is completed with the nickname "Lighting II" in memory of the P-38 Lightning and English Electric Lightning aircraft, which they operated respectively during the second world war and in the period of the cold war.

-7 When was the first Italian F-35 aircraft delivered?
The first Italian F-35 was delivered on 3 December 2015 at the FACO facilities in Cameri.
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Unread post24 Jul 2019, 19:22

It's written about the takes time and effort of flight list check work.
It's written that list check of F-35 is automatic. Interesting. 8)
Because it is long, I will not quote the latter half. (Omitted part: about MADL and ALIS.)
https://www.aviation-report.com/a-decim ... -avanzato/
F-35, SPECIAL AVIATION REPORT: one day with the Hawks of the 32nd Wing
In Decimomannu with the 5th generation aircraft of the Air Force engaged in advanced training
Gianluca Conversi 20 March 2019 Aeronautica Militare
"Six F-35A aircraft and a team composed of pilots and maintenance personnel of the 32nd Air Force Wing have deployed these days at the Experimental and Standardization Unit of Air Shooting (RSSTA) of Decimomannu (Cagliari) for a cycle of about three weeks of advanced training ".

In a press release dated February 8th, the Italian Air Force announced the redeployment at the Sardinian aerobase of a rate of aircraft, pilots and personnel of the 32nd Wing with the express purpose of proceeding along the path of full integration of the aircraft into the armed force and “consolidate the experience gained in the numerous operational capabilities already achieved with the new aircraft, including those related to its use in the airspace surveillance service, and to continue the path to reach the full operational capacity of the air system. 'F-35A weapon, primary objective after the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) achieved last November on the occasion of the 4th Flying Course of the TLP (Tactical Leadership Program) carried out on the Apulian air base ".

The issued statement finally described the types of missions carried out “both day and night, in coordination with the RSSTA of Decimomannu and the Interforces Polygon of Salto di Quirra. Thanks to the so-called omniruolo characteristics of the new weapon system, which characterize it as a 5th generation platform compared to the multirole ones of the previous generations, in particular for the unique capabilities of the new aircraft in terms of real-time data collection and management ( sensor fusion), it is possible to simultaneously express in flight all the range of aero-tactical capabilities in the past necessarily made with more types of aircraft. Pilots can therefore train themselves, during the same flight, to a wide range of missions, including combat with other air-to-air aircraft, engagement simulation with precision armament of targets on the ground, ISR activities (Intelligence, Surveillance And Reconnaisance) for data collection to support operations, close support activities for land and sea forces, electronic warfare ".

The missions organized and completed have allowed in-depth training without a real but simulated armament release thanks to the capabilities of the aircraft that is able to simulate scenarios of specific operating theaters with the threats subject of the exercises carried out, involving real or virtual assets acting in simultaneous with ground simulators.

As the note of the Air Force mentions at the end of the press release, “the capabilities of virtual and embedded training (simulator training and virtual training on board the aircraft itself) allow you to train in total safety on all procedures, operational tactics and on the development of the potential of the weapon system, as well as allowing a substantial cost reduction ".

Thanks to the great willingness of the Italian Air Force on February 18th we had the opportunity to participate closely in the latest missions of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II jets before their return to the Amendola base.

Exhausted the presentations and courteous pleasantries, the day began with the briefing during which we were shown the agenda of the day and the times available in addition to the information on security of which we appreciated the precise explanation of the reasons why certain actions are necessary, how they are implemented and in what perimeter they should be contextualized. A correct and precise “When / How / Why” approach that has clarified many aspects related to the necessary security around the weapon system, highly attentive in every respect.

F-35 Game Changer
Speaking of performance in the case of the F-35 means little: 50,000 foot tangency, Mach 1,6 maximum speed, considerable autonomy thanks to the large fuselage and the ultra-modern and highly efficient engine that guarantee unparalleled efficiency. These are not the parameters on which to base oneself to define a good plane or a "normal" aircraft. As we have been pointed out, the Joint Strike Fighter is something truly revolutionary.

Thanks to the advanced sensors, the engine, the weapons that can be loaded in the inside holds, its low observability that combines refined design, the materials used, the external coating (the infamous skin-coat), the silence in exchanging data with other aircraft capable of receiving and transmitting on particular frequencies in addition to the traditional and the Link 16, the definition "omniruolo" attributed to it is the product of the sensor-fusion among all the characteristics previously listed.

More than 1000 processors combine to collect and merge a multitude of data without equal to the system that processes them to provide the pilot only with what is really necessary at that given moment or according to his specific needs. All of this is shared in real time with other fine assets at a level that is not at all imaginable.

The software lines written for the overall management of the aircraft are over eight million (the F-22 does not reach two million while a Eurofighter Tranche 1 has requested one and a half million lines of code) and this number makes us immediately understand how much it was difficult to reach the ambitious goals from which the Joint Strike Fighter was born. To imagine a typical mission, the Commander of the 13th Group, call-sign "Falco 01", used a very simple example: "Imagine being invited to a big party in a very expensive villa equipped with avant-garde anti-intrusion systems in among many guests. "

"The F-35 arrives at the party undisturbed, enters from the back door, disables all the defense and alarm devices, hits the surveillance behind it listens and sees everything that happens, to then exit without the others noticing it ". The plane was born and can be used for single missions, in bad weather and in highly defended areas.

A redeployment of F-35 is news, knowing (or surprisingly learning) that an F-35 is in the area, obliges the hostiles to take it into account. It's called deterrence; deterrence produces security and, as stated by Julius Caesar, "Si vis pacem, para bellum" or "If you want peace prepares for war".

The F-35 carries out more missions together, in addition to acting as an electronic "vacuum cleaner" in collecting, processing and sharing emissions, sweeping the skies and the operations area for the benefit of other assets with its advanced sensors. moving from one mode to another immediately, hence the definition of an “omniruolo” plane, a term that differs from the more well-known “multirole” attributed to other tactical aircraft; if they are configured for an attack mission, they cannot fully perform air defense and to do so must be specially configured.

An F-35 can operate as a force multiplier, by analyzing the area where other "legacy" planes are destined to operate, transmits to them the data collected and analyzed, thus ensuring a security framework that can guarantee the aircraft package 4th generation to be able to operate safely in the area of ​​competence.

With another example, let's imagine swimming underwater in a pool and it's time to emerge to see if there are hostile forces at the pool that don't want us out. The F-35 helps the swimmer alerting him to the absence of threats or where to re-emerge and at what time to get around the danger or face it knowing where it is.

We are told that the JSF works in close contact and coordination with the two new Gulfstream G55O CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) radar aircraft with which it is able to exchange data in an ultra-safe mode, but also operates as a support to other assets such as the Eurofighter Typhoon in an operational binomial similar to that already experienced by the USAF between F-22 Raptor and F-15 Eagle).

In our opinion, in Aviation Report, from an operational point of view, the F-35s could carry out most of their missions on the Mediterranean again at the center of patrols by the Russian armed forces and other powers, but "to keep an eye on" even in the East where the energy interests around the island of Cyprus require caution and continuous monitoring. The area (divided into concessions) also sees among our other large energy companies our ENI hold concessions in which it seems that there are interesting deposits of gas whose product in the not too distant future could reach Italy in our present gasifiers and deposits In southern Italy.

The HMDS Helmet
During our on-line walk-through flight, located right in front of the former Luftwaffe building, now assigned to the 13th Group and always led by Major Maurizio, we are witnessing the parking maneuvers of one of the aircraft returned from one of the three missions morning. With the engines switched off, the ground personnel assigned to the aircraft opens the stealth compartment, its shape resembles an 8, placed on the left side of the F-35, extracts and extends the incorporated telescopic ladder in a few seconds.

The abandonment procedures by the pilot are roughly the same as any other combat aircraft including the removal of equipment containing all the mission data and those collected from the advanced sensors of the JSF.

While the pilot, assisted by his own specialists, completes the aircraft shutdown operations and prepares to extract the mission data that will be analyzed in the post-flight briefing, we learn that from the moment the aircraft is requested to its pilot to enter action takes about 15 minutes, time needed to start the start-up procedures and unmark the usual pre-flight check-list which, in the case of the F-35, is fully automatic. No list to be unmarked line by line: the machine does everything by itself.

The plane is parked with the two arms open, which are also during taxiing; inspecting them and dissipating the internal heat is much easier. We learn that in real conditions the opening for releasing the armament and closing the hold (or both) takes place in less than a second

The exact data is classified, but it is evident that this operation, even for a few moments, exposes a radar-reflecting surface (albeit very small and for a very short time) to hostile defense systems.

A handshake to greet the very kind pilot, let us pause briefly for a closer look at the highly sophisticated and for this reason also an expensive helmet co-produced by the Israeli Elbit and by Rockwell Collins; calling it a helmet is extremely simplistic, though.

The HMDS (Helmet Mounted Display Systems) is one of the key systems of the F-35, as our guide clearly illustrates. Its display systems offer pilots an unprecedented "situation awareness". All flight parameters and information necessary for pilots to complete their missions are represented on the transparent inner visor that partially covers the pilot's face: speed, direction, altitude, targeting, without forgetting the danger warnings represented in different levels (presence potential danger, attention to it, alarm).

Accustomed to seeing the "legacy" planes released by HUD (Head-Up Display), the cockpit and the HMDS of an F-35 seem to welcome us in the era of Star Wars. No coincidence that the Commander of the 13th Group has ruled that the Joint Strike Fighter "represents the last stage before artificial intelligence".

Returning to the HDMS, it is clear how it contributes decisively to reduce the pilot workload (the JSF is single-seater), increasing its reactivity with “the information needed at the right time and at the best cost-effectiveness ratio”.

The highly sophisticated DAS (Distributed Aperture System) of the F-35 transmits to the helmet-mounted viewer real-time images from 6 advanced infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft, thus allowing pilots to "look through" the aircraft structure simply by moving the head in the desired direction.

The helmet obviously allows night vision through the use of an integrated camera mounted at the forehead, integrated with the images produced and processed by the DAS and with the targeting data processed by the EOTS (Electro-Optical Targeting System), visible anteriorly under the radome.

Moreover, many of the technologies created for military use have had their application in civilian life: just think of aluminum foil, used for the external coatings of the first space capsules landed on the Moon, with the laser with exciters for refractive surgery, with video games with the consoles now equipped with visual devices that offer the player the possibility of "entering" the video game through the virtual reality provided by visual devices operating similar to the HDMS.

We must say that the comparisons and very simple practical examples but of an extreme incisiveness that Major Maurizio used to explain and make us understand the possibilities of this machine have been very well chosen.

But how does the HDMS work?
While the pilots of fighter aircraft of the 4th and previous generations controlled the flight information and the position of the other aircraft in the air space in front of the pilot projected on the HUD and managed dozens of spies, buttons and switches, the F-35 pilot he sees all this, and more, on his visor.

Simply by touching the 20 × 50 cm PCD (Panoramic Cockpit Display) touchscreen and 2560 × 1024 pixel resolution that replaces all digital and analogue displays on legacy aircraft or using a single button on the joystick, the pilot is able to switch the view between three feeds: real-time video of what happens outside, thermal images or activate night vision.

The helmet is custom built, the center of gravity is and must be absolutely perfect in order not to create disturbances to the pilot during the flight and the abrupt movements typical of a combat aircraft.

As the pilot's head moves, the data shown on the visor and the images produced by the 6 cameras of the DAS change. They are positioned in front of the cockpit and aft, plus four others are positioned below the cell. Comparing the vision provided by the DAS and elaborated by the HMDS to what the radiologist sees during a laboratory examination is very appropriate. Looking down, you don't see your military boots but it is as if the pilot had left the plane to observe what is below him.

Naturally, and as already underlined, the visual information is supplemented by the electronic ones in order to propose to the pilot the route data, targets and other tactical information pertinent to the mission and the area observed at that precise moment.

Getting these results was not easy. The first models of the helmet did not provide images as fast as the movements carried out by the F-35 pilots. The helmet is now able to detect exactly what the pilot is observing, in which direction, in what position it is finding itself, all thanks to a magnetic field generated by a transmitter placed in the ejection seat. While the head rotates, the sensors detect the change in magnetic field and the view (with the required data attached) instantly adapts.

For those observing from outside an F-35 it cannot fail to notice that the passenger compartment is not raised above the fuselage; an F-22 or a Typhoon are equipped with raised seats with the bubble of the raised roof to allow the pilot a wide view of the space around him. The HDMS performs (for the better, clearly and without precedent) the combination of the driver's view and the HUD offered by 4th generation aircraft.

The Hawks
The only department of the Italian Air Force today equipped with F-35A 5th generation aircraft is the 13th Group framed in the 32nd Wing that operates from the Apulian base of Amendola.

The current numerical consistency consists of 8 aircraft based in Italy and 2 permanently stationed in the United States at Luke AFB in Arizona where the international training center of this machine is located.

To reach full operational capacity, it is obviously not enough to be well trained and to have fully developed the tactics necessary to make the best possible use of the F-35 system, it will still take some time for the Group to reach an adequate numerical consistency (12/15 aircraft).

Observe 6 of 8 airplanes deployed in Decimomannu squares and see them all fly several times a day, reassuring and a positive indicator of the efficiency of the machines and of the degree of confidence and training achieved by pilots and airmen.

During the afternoon, we were able to attend a mission that would have been aborted for any other aircraft until the following day: one of the planes, already ready to taxi, remained in the parking lot for several minutes before being stopped. Pilots and staff have reached a specific area within which the data produced by the F-35 are decrypted and analyzed. Returned after several minutes to the aircraft, "restarted" the machine, performed the pre-flight checks (as already said they are completely automatic), the plane took off to carry out its mission.
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Unread post24 Jul 2019, 19:24

It's written about the scramble mission at the time of Italy IOC.
It's a part that I am very interested in. 8) (How long does it take to take off, etc.)
http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/comuni ... 07_19.aspx
F-35: IMMEDIATE TAKE-OFF
17 JULY 2019 Source 32nd Wing AMENDOLAAuthor Magg. Pil. Maurizio DE GUIDA
The narrative of a scramble
"SCRAMBLE OF TWO F-35 ON CONTAMINATED AIRCRAFT"
NARRATIVE OF AN EXERCISE
    The narrative that follows, very essential in the description of the salient phases, was used to describe a scramble activity of two F-35 aircraft during an exercise, coordinated by the IOC, held in May at the Pratica di Mare base.
    In the scenario that was recreated for the exercise, among the various activities, the identification in flight of a contaminated CBRN structure (ie with a possible chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear threat), coming from the south towards Rome, was simulated.

    Here's what happened ...
The integrated Air Defense system has identified the radar trace of the aircraft and reports it to the Command and Control bodies (IT-AOC - ITalian Air Operation Center of Poggio Renatico), which have the task of commanding and controlling the use of the assets of the Air Defense in cases of threat to national security.

The IT-AOC, having assessed the situation, commands the 22nd Licola AM Radar Group to order immediate take-off - in technical "scramble" jargon - for the pair of F-35 aircraft on national alert based on Amendola, in the province of Foggia.

At the "scramble" order, the alarm is triggered in the base. The siren suddenly breaks the silence and the wait becomes action ... speed of response.

Everyone knows perfectly well what to do ... like in slow motion ... but everything is very fast, almost in apnea.

The two pilots and specialists of the Group run fast towards airplanes ... less than a minute. The pilots, wearing the anti-G suit - to reduce the effect of the accelerations - the flight jacket and the helmet, climb up the ladder ... a leap and I'm inside the plane ...

Battery: ON. Auxiliary power motor: ON.

The hands run automatically to the straps that, at dawn before the start of the alarm shift, had been positioned precisely, as in a ritual, precisely because every second makes the difference.

Meanwhile, the engine starts, last checks ...

A few minutes and the F-35s move ... they come out of the hangars under the rapid but careful and expert control of the specialists.

While they are moving fast towards the "track head", from the tower the pilots receive the first brief information of the aircraft to be intercepted.

Aligned and ready, the brakes off, all engine and the takeoff run begins!

A few seconds in very strong acceleration with the post-burner inserted, 180 knots and take-off.

Another few seconds and, with the momentum of 450 knots, we are climbing towards 35000 feet, "riding" the barrier of the speed of sound towards the threat, towards the target.

During the flight phase, pilots receive instructions and information from the Air Defense controllers about the situation in progress, necessary to know what is happening and to know and decide how they will act, always within standardized and codified procedures.

The two F-35s are now traveling at the speed of Mach 0.95 (or if necessary, even at supersonic speeds).

After a first phase of flight and dialogue with the 22nd GrRAM controllers that alerted them, the two fighters pass under the tactical control of a CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft, a multi-sensor airplane with aerial surveillance functions , command, control and communications, functional to air supremacy and support to ground forces.

The CAEW, which was already in flight for a training activity, moved to the area and set up the interception tactics, driving the F-35s on the target aircraft.

There he is! Is in sight: the interception is performed with a subsonic flight profile. Today the target, from the information gathered, is an probably contaminated aircraft, and, once identified by the fighters, it is kept under control.

The leader of the pair of F-35 carried out a particular interception "geometry" to avoid being seen: he approached under the fuselage of the target to carry out a first visual reconnaissance, communicating anomalies and "number plate" to the Air Defense bodies .

Then it was flanked by the cockpit of the target aircraft to be seen by the pilot of the intercepted aircraft, both with visual signals, and by communicating via radio on a "guard" frequency, bringing all the salient elements to the chain of Command and Control by receiving instructions.

The wingman, the other F-35, remained in a position of backward cover, carefully monitoring with his sensors what is happening, ready to intervene.

The IT-AOC, depending on the current situation and the indications received from the Command and Control chain, orders the aircraft to be driven on the Pratica di Mare airport, which has been designated as the landing and intervention airport for the decontamination operations.

During the landing phase of the aircraft, the F-35s keep the area under control until the engines of the target aircraft shut down, to then return to their base, the 32nd Wing of Amendola, which since March 2018 is officially part of the device of National Air Defense, together with the Eurofighters at the Hunting Storms.

Adrenaline, action, precision and attention to detail as in a ritual, integration of the whole team, training: this is also the Air Force, also today at the service of the community.
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Unread post25 Jul 2019, 02:33

Italy complains about the cost. Yet, buys 15 F-35B's for the Italian Air Force and 15 F-35B's for the Italian Navy! :doh:
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Unread post01 Aug 2019, 18:35

Italy Navy, Air Force debate where to base F-35Bs [it is complicated - so all the text is below]
01 Aug 2019 Tom Kington

"ROME – As the first Italian F-35B pilots begin training in the United States, a tug of war between the Italian Navy and Air Force over the aircraft means there is still no certainty about where Italy’s STOVL jets will be based, and who will have ultimate authority over them. “These pilots will be back in Italy next year after training and we still don’t know where they are going,” said an Italian analyst knowledgeable of the debate in Italy. The standoff suggests that moves in Italy to create increasing synergies between armed forces have a way to go. “This is a long way from being resolved,” said a defense source who asked not to be named.

Italy is likely to order 30 F-35Bs, which will be evenly split between the navy and air force. The first two jets, which are destined for the navy, are currently undergoing trials in the US. The navy wants the jets to replace its veteran AV-8 STOVL aircraft, and plans to fly them off its Cavour carrier as well as its under-construction Trieste Landing Helicopter Dock.

The Air Force, which will also receive 60 conventional F-35As, wants its 15 B-versions for deploying to temporary bases with short runways during overseas missions. “Given today’s tight budgets, it makes sense to have one base for all the F-35Bs, where training, maintenance and logistics can be focused,” said a second analyst, Alessandro Marrone, senior fellow at the IAI think tank in Rome. “Italy’s most recent defense white paper stresses interforce activity, and this is the moment – given that by definition the F-35 is an interforce aircraft,” he added.

The question is, which base, and under the control of which armed force? Air Force officials point to the UK’s example, where squadrons set up by both the Navy and the RAF to fly their F-35Bs are to share one base — RAF Marham in Norfolk, which is under ultimate RAF control. :devil: [FoffAirForce] :devil: The degree of interoperability is set to be high, involving RAF pilots flying off the decks of Navy carriers.

If Italy follows the same path, the air force’s base at Amendola in Puglia, in the heel of Italy, would be the obvious candidate to host all 30 F-35Bs. Eight Italian Air Force F-35As are already based at Amendola and infrastructure for the jet is already up and running.

“The UK model would work for Italy, with all 30 F-35Bs based at Amendola and one authority for maintenance for all Italian aircraft,” said retired Gen. Leonardo Tricarico, a former head of the Italian air force and now chairman of the ICSA think tank in Rome. Grouping the B’s and the A’s would mean one group of technicians could work on maintaining both types, saving precious resources and increasing efficiencies, said the first analyst.

Currently, the navy’s AV8s land base is at Grottaglie, which like Amendola is in Puglia, but is closer to the naval port at Taranto, where the Cavour is based, and which will be home port of the Trieste when it is completed. That means it makes sense to bring all 30 F-35Bs — both the navy’s and the air force’s — to Grottaglie, where they would fall under ultimate control of the navy, argued a senior navy official who declined to be named. “That allows the navy jets to be nearer to the carriers,” he said.

That view was challenged by the first analyst, who said the extra flying time from Amendola was minimal. The navy official argued that basing the B-version jets in a different location to the F-35As would not reduce logistics efficiencies. “First of all, a good deal of spare parts will need to be kept on the carriers, and secondly, since the parts kept on the shelf will be coming from Lockheed Martin in the United States, it is less crucial to have one big maintenance center in Italy,” he said.

The navy scored an early victory in the tussle when it was handed the first two Italian B’s rolled off the production line, despite many military planners believing the deliveries would alternate between the Navy and Air Force. Then came the thorny issue of which pilots, navy or air force, would take the first places on pilot training in the United States. The decision was due to made by Italy’s chief of staff, but was kicked upstairs to Italy’s defense minister, Elizabetta Trenta.

Five places were eventually handed to the Navy and only one or two to the Air Force, the first analyst said. “The decision was made just days before the pilots were due to leave in July, and the air force was understandably not happy,” he said. “And with no deal on basing yet, we don’t know where these pilots will go to when they return to in Italy,” he said."

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... se-f-35bs/
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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