Italy's Cavour carrier enters dock for F-35B integration work
The Italian navy’s Cavour aircraft carrier has entered the Edgardo Ferrati drydock at Taranto to undergo maintenance and modernisation work to enable it to be integrated with the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
After ten years’ service with the navy, the Fincantieri-made vessel will be updated so that it is interoperable with Italy’s new fighter, which is due to replace the AV-8B Harrier that is currently operated by the navy’s carrier air group.
When Cavour entered the dock on 20 July, commander in chief of the navy fleet, Adm Donato Marzano, was present, the navy announced in August.
Displacing 27,000 tonnes, Cavour is the largest vessel to enter Edgardo Ferrati in some 70 years.
Manoeuvres to do so including the entry into the drydock to the positioning and emptying of the drydock lasted some 17h, and involved, in addition to the ship’s crew, the military and civilian personnel of the Naval Arsenal of Taranto.
Over the coming months, some of the more important technical modifications will be carried out on board the carrier, including the careening of the hull and the metallic reinforcement of the flight deck, necessary to limit the thermodynamic impact of the F-35B.
The overhaul work is expected to complete in the first half of 2020, after which the Cavour will go through a preparatory training period before setting sail to the US in the following months to conduct trials with the JSF on board.
These activities represent the first steps towards the carrier achieving initial operational capability with its new air group.
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