VX-23 workups for Italian carrier Cavour

A Test Pilot of the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 Salty Dogs, conducts day-into-night training in an F-35B variant aircraft from the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) at NAS Patuxent River (MD) on 27 January 2021.

These workup testing and training flights are integral to preparing pilots for the ITF test team’s detachment to the Italian Navy aircraft carrier Cavour scheduled between February and March 2021.

During carrier-based flight test, also known as sea trials, ITF members with the engineering and test pilot expertise and experience will gather data that will verify compatibility between the 5th generation fighter aircraft and the Italian naval fleet's flagship. This information will contribute to certifying the ship for the Italian Navy’s operation of its own F-35Bs, adding a key weapon system to the carrier and increasing its expeditionary capability.

On the picture, F-35B BF-05 with modex 65 is seen during its landing on 27 January 2021. The Lightning II is assigned to the F-35 Pax River ITF/VX-23. Its usual SD-tailcode is not worn anymore but a low-vis badge for HMS Queen Elizabeth trials and “QNLZ” on tail is visible as well as “MARINES” titles.

Photo by Kyra Helwick, F-35 Lightning II Pax River ITF

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