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    HomeMilitaryItaly Flexes Naval Power, Deploys Cavour Carrier with F-35Bs to Pacific Exercise

    Italy Flexes Naval Power, Deploys Cavour Carrier with F-35Bs to Pacific Exercise

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    aircraft carrier Cavour docked at the pier of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
    aircraft carrier Cavour docked at the pier of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

    The Italian Navy’s involvement in the Rim of the Pacific 2024 exercises signifies a notable broadening of its operational scope beyond the Mediterranean.

    Leading the way is the Cavour Carrier Strike Group, which will embark on its inaugural deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.

    The Cavour, Italy’s sole aircraft carrier, has been a beacon of versatility and technological prowess since its commission in 2008.

    The Cavour is capable of accommodating a variety of aircraft that are capable of short take-offs and landings.

    These aircraft include the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing variant of the F-35 Lightning II, AV-8B Harriers, and a fleet of twelve helicopters.

    The Italian aircraft carrier is equipped with two Sylver Vertical Launching Systems designed for the Eurosam SAMP/T missile system, enabling the deployment of Aster missiles.

    The aircraft carrier is equipped to facilitate landing operations with its AN/SPN-41A radio frequency instrument approach landing system and the Galileo Avionica SPN-720 advanced Precision Approach Radar.

    Furthermore, the vessel is outfitted with the Thales tactical air navigation system.

    The Cavour is propelled by a Combined Gas Turbine and Gas (COGAG) propulsion system.

    The carrier’s ability to operate the American-made F-35B, widely acclaimed as one of the finest aircraft in service, significantly boosts Italy’s naval air capabilities.

    The Cavour’s initial deployment was to provide humanitarian aid after the earthquake in Haiti. Ten years later, the Italian carrier sailed to the United States for trials with the F-35B. The successful completion of these trials led to the official conclusion of F-35B training in 2021.

    A year later, the Cavour participated in joint training exercises with the American carrier Harry S. Truman and the French carrier Charles de Gaulle.

    In October 2021, Italy announced its intention to procure 30 F-35Bs, with the allocation to be divided between its navy and air force.

    A KC-130J Hercules Aerial Refueling Tanker and an F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter conduct aerial refueling during Exercise Valiant Shield 18 while flying to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Sep. 18, 2018. Valiant Shield is a biennial, U.S. only, field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces in relation to current operational plans. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Seth Rosenberg)

    The Italian navy aims to replace its aging AV-8 jets on the carrier with F-35Bs, while the air force intends to utilize the aircraft for expeditionary missions, enabling operations from short runways.

    111015-N-UM734-913 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct 15, 2011) BF-04 (front) a variant of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35B Lighting II maneuvers after a vertical landing as BF-02 (back), the other variant, approaches the flight deck for landing on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) on day thirteen of sea trials. The F-35 B was designed to perform STOs and Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) operations on STOVL capable ships and austere airfields. For the USMC, the F-35B will provide air power for the Marine Air Ground Task Force U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist First Class Tommy Lamkin (RELEASED)

    Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, aptly summarized the significance of Italy’s carrier certification and its broader implications: “Supporting our Italian allies in certification of their aircraft carrier increases our collective experience in safety and combat abilities,” highlighting that “We are stronger together.”

    Relevant articles:
    Did You Know: Italy Has an Aircraft Carrier That Can Fly F-35 Fighters, The National Interest
    US F-35B Fighter Jets Are Operating on an Italian Aircraft Carrier for At-Sea Tests, Military.com
    F-35B sea trials with Italian carrier feature teamwork, achieve excellent results, DVIDS
    Italy air force F-35B makes first time landing on Italian carrier, Defense News

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