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Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour completing F-35B certification


According to information published by U.S. Navy on April 20, 2021, the Italian Navy flagship, the aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550), departed Naval Station Norfolk after Joint Force operations with U.S. military forces in the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35 Joint Program Office has delivered a flight clearance recommendation to the Italian Navy for the safe operation of fifth generation F-35B fighter aircraft.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A U.S. F-35B Lightning II performs an aft-facing vertical landing aboard the Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550) in the Atlantic Ocean March 15, 2021. (Picture source: U.S. Department of Defense) 


An F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) test team embarked on ITS Cavour to conduct sea trials, a series of tests and functional activities to create a safe flight operating envelope for the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the 5th generation aircraft aboard the recently upgraded ship.

The F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) team from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD comprises almost 200 people with the engineering and test pilot expertise and experience to conduct F-35B envelope expansion flight test, two specially instrumented developmental flight test aircraft, and support equipment.

During the sea trials, two F-35Bs of the ITF were embarked aboard Cavour and carried out more than 50 flight missions in challenging weather conditions sea states, a night session, around 120 vertical landings, 115 short take-offs with the aid of the ski jump, and two vertical takeoffs. These activities were followed by a sufficient amount of data analysis, yielding the information telling the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the Italian Navy how to safely conduct F-35B flight operations on Cavour.

An F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) test team embarked on ITS Cavour to conduct sea trials, a series of tests and functional activities to create a safe flight operating envelope for the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the 5th generation aircraft aboard the recently upgraded ship. The F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) team from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD comprises almost 200 people with the engineering and test pilot expertise and experience to conduct F-35B envelope expansion flight test, two specially instrumented developmental flight test aircraft, and support equipment.

In coordination with the Italian Navy, USMC MV-22s conducted shipboard landing qualifications on the deck of the Italian Carrier ITS Cavour. These flights increase interoperability between the Marine Corps and the Italian Navy, and increase the operational reach of Naval forces.”

The V-22 Osprey is a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, medium lift, vertical takeoff and landing tilt-rotor aircraft designed for combat, combat support, combat service support, and Special Operations missions worldwide. The platform’s primary function is amphibious assault transport of troops, equipment and supplies from assault ships and land bases.

Also while operating in the western Atlantic, ITS Cavour collaborated with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55). They conducted a three-day interoperability exercise with support from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 and Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 11. ITS Cavour also conducted dual-carrier operations alongside USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), marking the first time a Gerald R. Ford-class and Italian carrier operated jointly.

ITS Cavour departed Norfolk after disembarking the ITF personnel prior to completing the necessary preparation to undertake the last phases of the Ready for Operations campaign before returning to Italy. Cavour was also greeted by a performance by the U.S. Fleet Forces band as an expression of goodwill between the U.S. and Italian navies.

For decades, the bond between Europe and North America has made NATO the strongest alliance in history. Conducting training and exercises alongside allies and partners increases our collective capacity and capabilities as well as increased interoperability with the U.S. forces.

The Cavour is an aircraft carrier in service with the Italian Navy launched in 2004.

The Cavour is powered by a combined gas turbine and gas (COGAG) including four General Electric/Avio LM2500+ gas turbines developing 88,000 kW (118,000 bhp) and six diesel generators Wärtsila CW 12V200 developing 13,200 kW (17,700 bhp). She can reach a top speed of 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph) with a cruising range of 7,000 nmi (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph). She has a crew of 1,202 people.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.