Connect with us

Aviation

Third F-35B For The Italian Navy Makes First Flight

Published

on

F-35B Italian Navy
The third F-35B for the Italian Navy during its test flight last week. (Image credit: Roberto Resnigo – BestShotAircraft)

BL-4 is the fourth Italian F-35B, the third STOVL aircraft destined to the Italian Navy.

On Jun. 14, 2021, the F-35B BL-4, the fourth STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) aircraft assembled in Italy, at the FACO (Final Assembly and Check Out) facility, in Cameri, carried out its maiden flight.

The aircraft, coded “4-03” and serialled MM7454, is the third aircraft destined to the Marina Militare (Italian Navy). The first two aircraft MM7451/4-01 and MM7452/4-02 are currently at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina home of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B pilot training, where the Italian pilots destined to the STOVL variants are trained too.

BL-4 sports the same livery already adopted on the first two aircraft and clearly inspired to the one used by the Italian Navy’s AV-8B+ Harrier II of the Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati “Wolves”, based at Grottaglie: it features the wolf’s head insignia on the tail, the wolf’s paw prints on the rudder, the Italian Navy roundel and the “MARINA” text.

The F-35B MM7454 before taking off from Cameri (Image credit: Marcello Alongi – BestShotAircraft)

The images in this post were provided by our friends at BestShotAircraft and their photographers Roberto Resnigo and Marcello Alongi.

The aircraft has already carried out two test flights: the program calls for six test flights, including one in STOVL mode, before the jet is delivered to the customer for acceptance.

F-35B Italian Navy
BL-4 about to land after its first flight. (Image credit: Roberto Resnigo – BestShotAircraft)

Where the aircraft is headed after being delivered to the Italian Navy is still not clear. Considered that two F-35Bs are already in the U.S., it seems quite likely that the third aircraft will remain in Italy, possibly becoming the first Italian Navy F-35 to land aboard Italy’s aircraft carrier ITS Cavour, the flagship of the Marina Militare, that has recently returned to Italy after successfully completing the “sea trials” for the operational use of the F-35B.

As often explained here at The Aviationist, the Italian Government is currently procuring 90 F-35s, 60 of those are F-35As and the remaining 30 ones are F-35Bs. Out of those 30 F-35Bs, 15 will go to the Navy and 15 to the Air Force. The Lightning II will replace the Navy’s ageing AV-8B+ Harrier II and will be embarked on the Cavour aircraft carrier and the new LHD Trieste. It is not completely clear, however, where the F-35s will be land-based.

This is what this Author wrote last year, commenting the news of the delivery of the first F-35B to the Air Force in February 2020:

The Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati, which will operate the F-35B within the Navy, is currently based in Grottaglie, close to the naval port of Taranto, home to the Cavour aircraft carrier [and to the Trieste landing helicopter dock (LHD), in the future]. However, according to some reports, the Italian Defense Chief of Staff has already identified Amendola Air Base, the MOB (Main Operating Base) of the F-35A within the ItAF (about 100NM northwest of Grottaglie), as the national MOB for both the CTOL (Convetional Take Off and Landing) and STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) versions of the Lightning II. This should prompt the relocation of the “Wolves” to Amendola, creating a joint Air Force/Navy flight line with common logistics and training, even though it would practically mean that the entire force would mostly be under Air Force control.

With both Italian Air Force’s and Navy’s F-35Bs based at Amendola AB, the Italians would replicate the British model that sees RAF Marham as MOB for a jointly manned “Lightning Force” made of Air Force (with the 207 and 617 squadrons) and Navy (with the 809 Naval Air Squadron that will be re-established in 2023) personnel, sharing aircraft, equipment and support infrastructures. The creation of an Italian Joint Lightning Force makes much sense: aircrew training, maintenance and at least part of the logistics could be concentrated in one place, with some significant savings. And if the selected base is Amendola, the Italian Joint Force could leverage at least some of the infrastructures built there to accommodate the Lightning. Indeed, preparation to host the F-35 in Amendola started in 2012 and today the “F-35 citadel” is literally a “base inside the base” with modern shelters and buildings located inside an access-controlled restricted zone created to isolate the 13° Gruppo’s area from the rest of the base. It must not be forgotten tha the advent of the F-35 has induced the Italian MoD to adopt tighter security measures than those in place before the arrival of a 5th generation technology and this becomes pretty evident if you think that all the photographs taken inside Amendola, must be reviewed one by one by security personnel so that no sensitive detail would be leaked. For sure, making Grottaglie ready for the F-35B would cost a lot of money and time, considered that the works to prepare the base for the Joint Strike Fighter were halted a couple of years ago.

In a post about the F-35B and the use of the aircraft as part of an Italian Joint Lightning Force published here at The Aviationist about 10 years ago our Editor David Cenciotti wrote:

“I don’t know if Italy is ready for a single type of aircraft for both ItAF and ItNy, capable of operating from the Cavour aircraft carrier as a single unit, something that would logically lead to the creation of a joint force similar to the British Joint Force Harrier and to the subsequent proposal of reabsorbing the unit into the Air Force, an option that the Navy might not accept….”

A decade later, the situation has probably not changed much.

In fact, while the final decision about the basing might still be uncertain, there is no doubt that the assignment of the third F-35B to the Air Force has made the Navy not happy. Navy officials have long challenged the decision of the Italian Air Force to procure the F-35B. The Italian Air Force considers the STOVL variant of the stealth aircraft indispensable for expeditionary scenarios and operations from unimproved and short landing strips.

But, does the Italian Air Force really need to trade such flexibility for a more expensive and complex airframe, with shorter maximum range, reduced flight envelope, external (in pod) gun? According to the Air Force planners and decision makers, yes: a worldwide survey of all the runways that can be used by military jet highlighted that the ratio, in Africa alone, was 1 to 10, that is, for each runway usable with conventional aircraft, there are ten shorter ones, that are only exploitable by STOVL aircraft.

Still, not everyone agrees, pointing out that within the U.S. military, the F-35B remains a prerogative of U.S. Marine Corps, that uses the type from its amphibious assault ships, while the U.S. Air Force, that is certainly involved in expeditionary operations much more than the ItAF will ever be, has never had the need to operate the STOVL-variant.

The former Italian Navy Chief of Staff, Adm. Luigi Binelli Mantelli wrote to the Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini an open letter (published by La Stampa newspaper) illustrating all the cons of assigning the STOVL jets to the Italian Air Force. The view of the retired Admiral is that the procurement of the F-35B should be exclusive to the Marina Militare: he argues that the purchase of variant B by the Air Force is a mistake because this version would be expensive, with complex maintenance and with different operational limitations compared to the A version operated by the ItAF. On the other hand, the Admiral supports the indispensability of the F-35B for the Navy to operate from “light” aircraft carriers, advising to divert all the STOVL-models to the Marina Militare. The initial requirement of the Navy was for 22 F-35Bs. With just 15 jets, one might expect that no more than 8-10 F-35Bs will be available at any given time, a number that is deemed not sufficient for the needs of the Italian naval aviation.

While it’s now hard to believe the decision to give the Air Force some (or half) of the total F-35Bs will be reversed, the Navy at least wanted to receive most (if not all) of the first F-35Bs so as to continue the transition of its pilots and expedite the achievement of the IOC (Initial Operational Capability) with the new aircraft as the training required by the at-sea operations is far more complex than the one required for land-based operations. But the Italian MoD decided to give the Air Force its F-35B so that its pilots could start training on the new aircraft too. And Amendola, as explained above, has already been prepared to accommodate the new STOVL-models.

Whatever your opinion on this subject is (this is a much debated topic in Italy) it’s pretty evident that much more will have to be done to improve synergies between the two branches and make an Italian Joint Lightning Force a reality.

The situation remains more or less unchanged.

The Italian Navy carried has been declared ready to accept the F-35B while the Italian Air Force has taken continued to operate with its only B, that the service has presented to the public for the first time last year, during an Expeditionary Proof Of Concept on Pantelleria island. The same aircraft has been shown flying in “Beast Mode” alongside an A model and has recently returned to Pantelleria again earlier this month, along with a B model of the Royal Air Force embarked aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth for an Expeditionary Combat Support Event (ECSE) conducted as part of the large Falcon Strike 2021 exercise.

“The Italian Air Force needs the F-35B to be able to operate from short runways, a capability we had in the 1960s with the G-91 and lost with its successor, the AMX,” told us Gen. Gianni Candotti, the Italian Air Force’s operational commander during the ECSE at Pantelleria. “The lack of such ability has caused us issues for quite a long time. When we deployed to Afghanistan [in 2008], we first had to find an alternate airbase [Mazar-i-Sharif] with a runway that was suitable for the Tornado, then we started working on the runway at the forward operating location that was hosting the Italian base [Herat] and, after one year, once we had extended the runway, we were eventually able to operate from there [with the AMX]. The F-35B would have allowed us to operate from there since the beginning. That being said, while it is possible, operating from aircraft carriers is not our immediate objective: that is not the reason why we have selected this kind of aircraft.”

Interestingly, considered the number of F-35Bs both the Air Force and Navy are getting, Candotti didn’t rule out the eventual joint command similar to the British one that’s being considered (at least among analysts). “Everything is possible. Our British colleagues did it with the Harrier and continue with the F-35B. There are various ways to integrate from minimum collaboration to full integration. It is being studied.”

F-35B Italian Navy
The Italian Navy should receive 15 F-35B. BL-4 is its third Lightning II aircraft. (Image credit: Roberto Resnigo – BestShotAircraft)

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://theaviationist.com/2021/06/18/third-f-35b-italian-navy/

Aviation

Alberta International Airshow a go for takeoff in August

Published

on

From CTV News – link to source story

Adam Lachacz, CTVNewsEdmonton.ca Digital Journalist | Saturday, July 24, 2021

CF-18 Hornet

A Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet takes off from the City Centre Airport prior to the Edmonton Indy race in Edmonton on Sunday, July 22, 2012. (John Ulan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

EDMONTON — Another airshow will be coming to the Edmonton area later this summer.

The Alberta International Airshow, previously known as the Edmonton Airshow, will take place Aug. 20to 22 at the Villeneuve Airport.

The name change of the event was made to reflect the scale of regional and provincial organizers and participants, event coordinator RWE Events said.

Some of the military acts scheduled to perform at the event include the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 demo team, the United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II demo and UH-1 Huey search and rescue demo, as well asa flyover from a B-52 and B-1B “Bone” bombers.

Other acts include local pilot Bill Carter, Yellow Thunder, and Mrazek Airshow, with further acts to be announced.

Ticket sales will open on Tuesday for the event.

“The return of the Alberta International Airshow could not have been more timely – showcasing all we have to offer as we reopen,” said MLA for Lac St. Anne-Parkland Shane Getson in a statement. “I join everyone in welcoming all, local, national, and international, to discover the power and promise that is Alberta.”

Tom Ruth, Edmonton Airports president and CEO, said he was pleased to welcome the return of the airshow.

“The Alberta International Airshow is an exciting event for the community, and it attracts tourism to our region and promotes the aviation industry and investment opportunities at Villeneuve Airport and the surrounding area,” Ruth said in a statement.

The Villeneuve Airport is located in Sturgeon County, Alta., on Highway 44, about 10 kilometres northwest of Edmonton’s city limits.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2021/07/26/alberta-international-airshow-a-go-for-takeoff-in-august/

Continue Reading

Aviation

Canadian Forces members rescue pilot whose plane crashed near Petawawa, Ont.

Published

on

From CTV News – link to source story

Ted Raymond, Digital Multi-Skilled Journalist | Sunday, July 25, 2021

Petawawa plane crash

Search and Rescue personnel at the scene of a plane crash north of Petawawa, Ont. on Saturday, July 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of 8 Wing Trenton, RCAF)

OTTAWA — Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force rescued a pilot whose plane had crashed north of Petawawa, Ont. on Saturday.

A release from 8 Wing Trenton said the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton was notified at around 11 a.m. Saturday of a mayday call and received a subsequent signal from an emergency location transmitter about 74 km north of Petawawa.

Members of 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron based out of Trenton responded with a CH-146 Griffon Helicopter and CC-130H Hercules aircraft. They were joined by an aircraft from the Civil Aviation Search and Rescue Association out of Ottawa and a Bell 412 Helicopter from the Sûreté du Quebec.

“By working with the JRCC and our CASARA partners, we were able to quickly and safely locate and rescue this individual. This is just one example of the many Search and Rescue missions that our personnel execute each year, helping our fellow Canadians in their time of need,” said Lt.-Col. J.P. Landry, the Commanding Officer of 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron in a release.

The pilot was located at around 2 p.m. The individual was the sole person aboard the plane and was taken to a hospital in Pembroke, Ont. in stable condition.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2021/07/26/canadian-forces-members-rescue-pilot-whose-plane-crashed-near-petawawa-ont/

Continue Reading

Aviation

Uncertified aviation fuel trucks pulled from service at Prince George Airport

Published

on

From CBC New – link to source story

WestJet flight from Prince George to Vancouver had to stop to refuel in Kamloops 

Kate Partridge ·  Jul 23, 2021

The Prince George International Airport where uncertified aviation fuel trucks were recently pulled from service. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

A Transport Canada inspection at the Prince George Airport discovered multiple trucks being illegally used to refuel planes.

The trucks, which need to be licensed to transport dangerous goods like jet fuel, were pulled from service Wednesday after the agency found they were operating without proper certification.

The move resulted in a temporary loss of fuelling service at the largest airport in northern B.C. WestJet confirmed that a flight from Prince George to Vancouver had to stop to refuel in Kamloops. 

Prince George Airport Authority president Gordon Duke also confirmed the disruption but said flights can now refuel as expected. He says the airport authority is “working with all agencies involved to ensure that we continue fuelling operations here.” 

Fuelling services to the Prince George airport have been provided by third party operator Airconsol Aviation since 2007. The company did not respond to requests for comment.  

In a statement to CBC, Transport Canada confirmed the trucks had been detained and will need to be recertified before they can be put back to work.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2021/07/26/uncertified-aviation-fuel-trucks-pulled-from-service-at-prince-george-airport/

Continue Reading

Aviation

British Airways and partners shortlisted for UK government funding to decarbonize aviation

Published

on

British Airways made this announcement:

Airbus A350

  • Eight projects have been shortlisted for funding by the Department for Transport’s Green Fuels, Green Skies competition – part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, announced in November 2020
  • The grants will drive meaningful progress towards the development of sustainable aviation fuel plants in the UK and the decarbonization of the aviation industry
  • Projects British Airways has invested in include turning household waste and wood waste into sustainable aviation fuel and capturing carbon from the atmosphere and form part of the airline’s plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Four aviation decarbonization projects supported by British Airways and designed to help the industry achieve its targets of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, have been shortlisted for Government funding.

The Department of Transport’s Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) competition has awarded the funding to develop the UK’s first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility. In total the Government shortlisted eight projects to potentially receive a share of £15 million in its competition, all of which have a clear potential to produce SAF capable of reducing emissions by more than 70% on a lifecycle basis when used in place of conventional fossil jet fuel.

British Airways is directly involved in four of those projects which, pending the completion of grant agreements, can all press ahead with developing their feasibility and engineering plans.

The airline is partnering with technology company Velocys on the Altalto project to build a commercial waste-to-SAF plant in Immingham, Lincolnshire. Altalto will take more than half a million tonnes per year of household and commercial waste and produce up to 80 million litres of cleaner burning SAF and naphtha. The project has already received planning consent from North East Lincolnshire Council and is in the final stages of preparation for Front End Engineering Design.

Project Speedbird is a collaboration between British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea, with a goal of producing 100 million litres of sustainable fuel a year from 2025, sufficient to power 2,000 flights from London to New York operated by an A350 aircraft. The technology is based on Nova Pangaea’s REFNOVA® process of converting waste wood into alcohol. LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology, which was developed by LanzaTech and the Pacific Northwest National Lab, then converts the alcohol to produce sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.

British Airways is also working on two further decarbonization projects with LanzaTech and LanzaJet that, if successful, could each produce more than 100 million litres a year of SAF. The first would involve capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and converting it into SAF. The second would support the development of a SAF plant in Port Talbot, South Wales that would produce SAF from waste and industrial gases, with the potential to support significant jobs in the area.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://worldairlinenews.com/2021/07/26/british-airways-and-partners-shortlisted-for-uk-government-funding-to-decarbonize-aviation/

Continue Reading
Esports2 days ago

Who won Minecraft Championships (MCC) 15? | Final Standings and Scores

Esports3 days ago

Can You Play Pokemon UNITE Offline?

Esports2 days ago

Teppei Genshin Impact Voice Actor: Who is it?

Gaming4 days ago

Yoyo Casino and other Pay N Play casinos are growing in popularity

Esports3 days ago

Here are the results for the PUBG Mobile World Invitational (PMWI) East 2021

Esports2 days ago

All ranked mode rewards for Pokémon UNITE: Season 1

Esports3 days ago

Here are the results for the PUBG Mobile World Invitational (PMWI) West 2021

Cleantech2 days ago

Form Energy Reveals Iron-Air 100 Hour Storage Battery

Aviation24 hours ago

Legendary F-14 Pilot Dale ‘Snort’ Snodgrass Dies In A Tragic Plane Crash

Cyber Security3 days ago

What Programming Language Should I Learn for CyberSecurity?

Cyber Security3 days ago

Threat Actors are Abusing Argo Workflows to Target Kubernetes

best-gengar-build-in-pokemon-unite.png
Esports2 days ago

Best Gengar build in Pokémon UNITE

Esports2 days ago

Are there ranked rewards in Pokémon UNITE?

Esports2 days ago

Sakura Arborism Genshin Impact: How to Complete

AI2 days ago

What is the Freedom Phone and Should You Buy It?

Techcrunch2 days ago

This Week in Apps: Clubhouse opens up, Twitter talks bitcoin, Snap sees record quarter

Esports2 days ago

Best Greninja build in Pokémon UNITE

Esports2 days ago

How to unlock Pokémon in Pokémon UNITE, all Unite License costs

AR/VR2 days ago

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters to See Official Oculus Quest Store Launch This Week

Esports2 days ago

Best Garchomp build in Pokémon UNITE

Trending