The F-35B Joint Strike Fighters can now operate on the Italian Navy’s ‘Cavour’ aircraft carrier after the vessel received 16-month refit and upgrade.
On May 6, the ship left the Arsenale Militare Marittimo (Maritime Military Arsenal) of Taranto, the Navy said in a statement Tuesday.
Italy has ordered a total of 30 F-35B jets- 15 each for the Air Force and the Navy. The Navy received two of these jets in 2018 and 2019, while the Air Force took the delivery of its first F-35B on February 22, 2020.
The Cavour will reportedly have room for ten F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) in the hangar, and six more parked on deck.
The vessel is 244m long and 39m wide. It has a displacement of about 27,000 tons. The aircraft carrier will complete the technical tests in the coming weeks, at the end of which an intense training period will begin.
Modernization and restructuring work of the carrier began in December 2018. Flight deck received a new deck coating and metallic reinforcement. Upgrades include reinforced flight deck to handle the stress of direct thrust from the engines of the F-35B, which is capable of temporarily pointing its thrusters downward in order to take off and land vertically.