Italy: first in line

General Alberto Rosso, the head of Italy’s Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) announced on November 30 that the air arm’s 13° Gruppo, operating the F-35A Lightning II from Amendola Air Base with 32° Stormo ‘Armando Boetto’, had achieved initial operating capability. Italy has ordered 60 F-35As and 30 F-35Bs and has so far received ten F-35As and one F-35B. Eight of the F-35As have been upgraded to Block 3F configuration from the Block 3i they were configured with on delivery. Two F-35As and the F-35B remain in the United States at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona for pilot training and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland for testing. Italy’s new government is known to be antipathetic towards the nation’s acquisition of the jet and has discussed cancelling the buy. On November 10 it was revealed that the government has decided that instead of taking delivery of ten more F-35s in the next ive years it would accept ive or six and slow down deliveries of the remainder, stretching them over a longer time period.