The Italian Navy flagship arrived at the US Navy base in Norfolk in mid-february for a series of operations alongside U.S. military assets to attain the Italian Navy’s “Ready for Operations” certification to safely land and launch F-35B aircraft.
For about four weeks Cavour and her crew will test the flight deck and verify the impacts with the fifth-generation aircraft in key take-off and landing moments in different trim conditions and in relation to various factors such as winds and sea state.
For the record, Cavour left the Maritime Military Arsenal of Taranto in May 2020 after completing a 16 months refit and upgrade period to operate F-35B Joint Strike Fighters.
Technical interventions carried out on board the aircraft carrier included the overhaul of the flight deck with a new deck coating and the installation of the joint precision approach and landing system or JPALS.
The first landing of a US Marine Corps F-35B aircraft on the deck of the aircraft carrier represents a fundamental step in the long and complex certification process for the use of the new aircraft.
At the end of the test campaign, the F-35B be will be certified and qualified for operation aboard Cavour.
The Italian Navy ordered a total of 15 F-35B fighter jets. The Italian Air Force has the same number on order.
Future Italian Navy LHD Trieste will also be able to deploy these aircraft. It now features a ski jump similar to Cavour.