March 2021 saw first flights for two European partners in the F-35A Lightning II programme. On 2 March 2021, the ninth Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force) F-35A manufactured in Italy took to the air, whilst on 8 March 2021, the first Flyvevåbnet (RDAF, Royal Danish Air Force) F-35A made its maiden flight in the USA.
The KLu Lightning II, serial F-017 (construction number AN-17), performed its first flight at Cameri air base eighteen months after the first in Italy produced F-35A (serial F-009). Cameri air base (Italy) is the only Final Assembly and Check Out/Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul & Upgrade (FACO/MRO&U) facility outside the US, for the final assembly of F-35s to be delivered to Italy and the Netherlands.
The RDAF Lightning, serial L-001 (construction number AP-01), performed its first flight from the Lockheed Martin facility at Fort Worth (TX). The aircraft will be handed over to the RDAF in April 2021 and will be flown to Luke AFB (AZ).
Photos: Almos Castellazzi and Flyvevåbnet