The Italian Navy aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (C550), left on Thursday Naval base Taranto for reach Naval Station Norfolk to start F-35B STOVL aircraft qualifications with the U.S. Marine Corps.
For six weeks after its arrival in the United States, ITS Cavour will be trained by a USMC detachment that will be embarked, to become an aircraft carrier qualified with the F-35B.
The “Ready For Operations (RFO)”, as the campaign in the United States of ITS Cavour was called, will ensure, with the delivery to the Italian Navy of the first F-35B (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing – STOVL) , which will progressively replace the AV-8B Plus.
The first Italian F-35B will land on the Cavour once the carrier will back in Mediterranean waters.
To replace the AV-8B Harrier IIs, the Italian Government has ordered 15 F-35B STOVL. According to the reports, Cavour will have room for ten F-35Bs in the hangar, and six more parked on deck. Currently, the vessel carries 10 AV-8B Harrier II aircraft and can support only fixed-wing V/STOL and helicopter air operations.