Initial F-35B sea trials to take place on Italian aircraft carrier

By Aidan Quigley / October 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM

(Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the first F-35B sea trials aboard Italy's aircraft carrier will take place during the first quarter of calendar year 2021.)  

The Navy will hold the first F-35B sea trials aboard the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour during the first quarter of calendar year 2021.

"This event will collect data necessary to establish the flight bulletins for Cavour F-35B flight operations," Brandi Schiff, the spokeswoman for the joint program office, told Inside Defense.

Schiff said that Italy, a cooperative partner of the program, will be participating in the sea trials with the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF). The Cavour is the flagship of the Italian navy.

"Planning and coordination between the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (F-35 JPO) and the F-35 ITF is ongoing," she said.

The sea trials were laid out in a contract modification with Lockheed Martin late last month.

The $245 million modification also extended services and added hours "in support of engineering, maintenance, logistics manpower and material support to continue to develop, sustain and produce software builds as well as carryout developmental flight tests for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in support of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and non-Department of Defense (DoD) participants."