First in the World

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Italy became the first country outside of the United States to receive operational F-35A Lightning IIs on home soil when two aircraft arrived at Amendola Air Base on December 12.

The milestone, which took place just hours before Israel received its first two aircraft in country, involved F-35As MM.7336/32-05 (c/n AL-05) and MM.7337/32-13 (c/n AL-06) flying from the Final Assembly and Check Out facility at Cameri to Amendola home of 32° Stormo (32nd Wing) to join the resident and reestablished 13° Gruppo. F-35A MM.7337/32-13 (shown) is 13° Gruppo’s flagship aircraft.

Italy became the first nation outside the United States to receive operational F-35s after a weather delay forced the Israeli Air Force to postpone the last leg of the inaugural delivery flight of its first F-35A Adir aircraft from the Fort Worth production facility in Texas.

Riccardo Niccoli, photo Donato Tornotti