Italy will assemble 24 of the 36 Swiss F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters

ROME, ($1=0.91 Euros) — The Swiss Federal Office for Defense Procurement [Armasuisse] announced on March 24 that Switzerland will have at least 24 of the 36 F-35A stealth fighters produced in Cameri [Italy], although Bern has not given up hope to assemble the aircraft at RUAG’s Swiss plants. The news was announced by the Italian online portal AnalisiDifesa.

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Photo credit: USAF Airman 1st Class Caleb Worpel)

Clarifications and talks are underway to determine whether it will be possible to finalize four other aircraft in Switzerland as part of a compensation project. The first eight will be manufactured in the United States, using on-site initial training of Swiss pilots. The agreed price and delivery schedule remain unchanged, so the aircraft will be delivered from 2027.

In recent weeks, Armasuisse has praised the decision of the US government and Leonardo, the Italian company active in the defense, aerospace, and security sectors, to assemble most of the future Swiss Air Force F-35A fleet in Cameri. Italy. Armasuisse reached an agreement with the US government and found that up to 28 of the 36 aircraft would be manufactured in Italy by Leonardo. This means that at least 24 aircraft will be built in Italy.

Italy will assemble 24 of the 36 Swiss F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters
Photo credit: Info Aero Quebec

However, an inspection is underway with the manufacturer of the F-35A Lockheed Martin to see if the final installation work will be carried out in RUAG, Switzerland, as part of a compensation project [industrial cooperation]. Otherwise, they will also be produced at Cameri. Lockheed Martin will build the first 8 aircraft at its manufacturing plant in Fort Worth, Texas, USA so that they can be used to train Swiss pilots who will be sent to the United States.

Why Cameri?

Cameri is a comune [municipality] in the Province of Novara in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 90 kilometers northeast of Turin and about 6 kilometers northeast of Novara. Cameri is home to a military airfield Cameri Air Base [ICAO code: LIMN], now used for maintenance of the Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon of the Aeronautica Militare as well as final assembly of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

The Cameri is home to one of two F-35 production lines outside the United States and the only one in Europe. Italy has been involved in the F-35 program from the very beginning. Both the Italian Air Force and the Italian Navy use F-35A and F-35B aircraft. Leonardo also produced the F-35A of the Dutch Air Force in Cameri.

Italy will assemble 24 of the 36 Swiss F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters
Photo credit: Il Manifesto


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