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CAMERI, Italy, May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The first Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing version of the F-35, or F-35B, assembled outside the United States rolled out of the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility here today.
The rollout exhibits the ongoing strong partnership between the Italian Ministry of Defense, industry partner Leonardo and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The Italian FACO is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and is operated by Leonardo in conjunction with Lockheed Martin with a current workforce of more than 800 skilled personnel engaged in full assembly of the Conventional Take-off/Landing F-35A and F-35B aircraft variants and F-35A wing production.
Gen. Claudio Graziano, Italian chief of defense, Gen. Carlo Magrassi, secretary general of defense/director of National Armament, Adm. Mathias Winter, deputy program executive officer at the F-35 Joint Program Office, Filippo Bagnato, Leonardo Aircraft Division's Managing Director, and Doug Wilhelm, Lockheed Martin F-35 Program Management vice president, spoke at the milestone event.
"Italy is not only a valued F-35 program partner that has achieved many F-35 program 'firsts', but is also a critical NATO air component force, providing advanced airpower for the alliance for the coming decades," Wilhelm said. "Italian industry has participated in the design of the F-35 and Italian industry made components fly on every production F-35 built to date."
The jet's first flight is anticipated in late August and it is programmed to be delivered to the Italian Ministry of Defense in November.