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First Dutch F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Assembled in Italy Unveiled



The first Dutch F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) assembled in Italy was unveiled during a ceremony in Cameri, Italy, September 12th.

The event marked the official acceptance by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) from Lockheed Martin and Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A. as part of the F-35 partnership program. After acceptance flights and additional testing, the aircraft will be delivered to the Royal Netherlands Air Force in October.

For DCMA Europe Commander, Navy Capt. Brent Dessing, the unveiling is just the beginning. “I am very proud of the entire DCMA Europe team,” he said. “It is a great day seeing the JSF program deliver incredible capability to the warfighter. The ceremony was exciting, bringing together U.S., Italian, and Dutch partners and marking the first Dutch aircraft of many that will come from Cameri. From witnessing the roll-out ceremony on Thursday to observing the successful company test flight on Friday, the great work of all involved was on full display.”

Government test flights, scheduled to take place later this month, will complete the final assembly and check out procedures and end in delivery to the Dutch Air Force. DCMA’s surveillance process requires numerous inspections and tests to include four test and acceptance flights, two performed by Lockheed Martin pilots and two by DCMA pilots. These flights confirm airworthiness and safety of flight, as well as verifying mission system specification compliance.

The Dutch F-35 is the first of 37 to be delivered to the Royal Netherlands Air Force and includes eight F-35A conventional takeoff and landing fifth-generation stealth fighters produced stateside and another 29 built in Italy.

After delivery, DCMA’s mission will continue during depot level maintenance and future modifications for the F-35 aircraft. The DCMA sustainment mission includes aircraft lifecycle oversight on the jet itself, F-135 engine, electronic warfare systems, command and control computers, software development and integration, spare parts, training, logistical support, U.S. government and contractor technical support services, and other equipment.

Italy’s Cameri Final Assembly and Check Out facility is the first fully-operational international F-35 production facility, the second is located in Nagoya, Japan. Italy delivered the first internationally built F-35 in December 2015. DCMA’s administration of the F-35 program involves more than 1,500 active global suppliers, making it the largest aircraft program in size and complexity.