From Friday 12 to Sunday 14 May, at "La Nuvola di Fuksas" in Rome, theAeroSpace Power Conference brought together over 1800 participants (including delegations from 41 countries, 25 heads of air forces and experts - national and foreign - from government organizations and academic and industrial realities) to take stock of the state and future developments of the aerospace sector at the centenary of the establishment of the... "Regia Aeronautica" (from 1946 "Military Air Force").
AM did things big and the event certainly represented a moment of pride, for the numerous blue-clad servants of the State, but also for simple "citizens" of the "democratic" Republic, such as myself.
The conference was opened by the chief of staff, general sa Luca Goretti, who, showing off perfect English, redeemed the tradition of scarce national linguistic knowledge. But you know, the pilots are trained in States and at least half of them were "kidnapped" by famous American films, certainly not by "The Three Eaglets" of 1942.
A nice introductory promotional video (always in English) in which the history of flight and the Armed Forces is retraced in 134 seconds, from the meadows to space, worried me because, with a nearby war and our aircraft intent on protecting the flank east of NATO, the only shots "fired" were i flare (defensive countermeasures) of a Euro Fighter (see video).
It's okay to be the real pacifists, but today a "minimum wage" of armed deterrence through images would help…
However, remembering someone's embarrassment in the AM for the final gloss of one of mine old interview with the commander of the 32nd wing of Amendola, I preferred to "fly over". Regarding the F-35s the colonel said verbatim: In an air confrontation at one time there were considerations like "Here me the cable ...", "Here I play it ..." or "Here I have to be careful". On board an F-35 the thought can not be other than "Poor one who is on the other side !!!"
Well there were those who replied upset: “And what does it do? Shoot???” (unnecessarily hoping for a cut of the ending).
To me it seemed obvious that in a (possible) aerial confrontation it would be possible to open fire, however, in times of pure "dual use" (minister 29+1), that closing of an article to someone in uniform (!) seemed scandalous …
Other times, other characters?
We have arrived at 2022 and "thanks" to a real conventional war, the armed forces have found themselves... completely unprepared for high-intensity conflicts!
We recall the alarm raised by a great Chief of Defense Staff, Air Force General Enzo Vecciarelli? At the end of the war in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020 (!) he warned politicians (and colleagues who denied and they censored until the day before even the simple questions) about our inadequacy.
As per the Italian tradition, the admonition seems to be followed only by chatter: nothing significant, real or concrete.
Has anything changed with the current invasion of Ukraine on February 24 of last year? Well it was decided to move the achievement of 2024% of GDP for Defense from 2028 to 2! Baffling (not to use other terms). Also because one would be needed extraordinary law to restore a single armed force like the Army...
In the meantime, misunderstood and mocked or not, many officers have sprinkled their heads in ashes and have - albeit belatedly - begun to train their men in (finally) "warfighting" scenarios. This, even without the weapon equipment indispensable today...
Is the “we are ready” credible today? For months, the same minister has rightly admitted that the model of our armed forces is still that of the peacekeeping.
No "we told you so" can ever compensate for the consequences that our people will have to pay in case of war, so we will not remark that we have warned politics for years with this newspaper (with the only result of being boycotted). We wrote it in Italian for Italians, what could we expect? Nothing! But today if you ask if you train to war any answer is fine, but no “we always have”.
If then, arguing, for example about ability (I clarify NOT about "merit", that's out of the question!) you use theevacuation of Afghans from Kabul "no problem" (the same one that has brought to light enormous limitations and deficiencies in the strategic transport of the Air Force - read article dated August 30, 2021), you feel a bit cheated.
Part of the Afghans we brought back not indifferent, they were loaded aboard US C-17s (aircraft with a load capacity 5 times higher and autonomy much greater than our honest ones, at least until 2021 numerically scarce and limited C-130).
General Goretti closed the cycle of panel (which you can follow at the following link) with a: “To be relevant we must be able to look ahead, with passion and motivation, towards the future and towards the next 100 years”.
Allow me a consideration and I also address it to the current (prepared but communicatively very fleeting and selective) Minister of Defence: “We do not look to the future if we are not capable of admitting and remedying the real conditions of the present".
If we have had difficulty with 5000 civilians, how can we transfer soldiers and vehicles that, already today, cannot be embarked on our C-130s? Always relying on others? And are we aware that, in the light of the military news, we should think by much higher orders of magnitude?
I leave you with the words of General Goretti, trusting that - magnificent speaker - he will soon be available to give an interview (also...) to this journal on other ("national") points of interest.
Moral: if when alarms are sounded (see Gen. Vecciarelli) politics is indolent, how can we expect reactivity with the excellent and plentiful or however we have been getting by for 100 years?
Photo: Online Defense / Italian Air Force