Ambassadors and military attachés visit International Flight Training School (IFTS) in Decimomannu

(To air Force)

It took place on Thursday 11 April, at theInternational Flight Training School (IFTS) of Decimomannu, in Sardinia, the visit of ambassadors and military attachés from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Japan, Kuwait, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain and the United States. The aim of the visit was to enable the senior representatives of the participating countries to experience first-hand the cutting-edge techniques and means in the field of flight education and training that the IFTS offers to flying personnel not only of the Air Force, but also to student pilots coming from all over the world.

Arrived at the experimental and standardization air shooting department (RSSTA) of Decimomannu, the delegation of ambassadors, accompanied by the air team general Silvano Frigerio, commander of the AM Schools / 3rd air region of Bari, was welcomed by the air brigade general Davide Marzinotto - commander of the military aviation command for the autonomous region of Sardinia (CAMRAS) – and by Colonel Federico Pellegrini, commander of the RSSTA.

After a greeting address from Gen. Frigerio, the guests attended an illustrative briefing on the activities of the 212th flight group/IFTS, held by col. Vito Conserva – commander of the 61st wing – and by Eng. Recchia, IFTS manager for Leonardo Velivoli. The visit then continued at the Ground Based Training System (GBTS) – which hosts training rooms and a modern interactive training system based on latest generation full mission simulators – and to follow the FlightLine, the accommodation facilities and facilities available to visitors, as well as the logistics-maintenance infrastructures that manage the operation of the fleet of 22 M-346 aircraft (called T-346A by the Air Force).

“We had an important participation of ambassadors and also military attachés from numerous nations (from the United States, to Japan, from Sweden to Kuwait) who were thus able to experience first-hand how much the International Flight Training School, here in Decimomannu, and the state of the art as regards Lead-In Fighter Training, i.e. advanced training for military pilots who will be assigned to fourth and fifth generation combat aircraft", these are the words of the general. Frigerio on the day spent. With reference then to the many professionalisms of the instructors and all the staff who work at the School he continued: “The human sphere is always relevant, I would say prevalent when it comes to training and flight training, and therefore also the selective process to have the best instructors, both civil and military, is constantly evolving and constantly updated precisely because the The human and therefore educational aspect has a predominant role, beyond what the car, the plane and the entire system integrated with the resulting training may be".

On this occasion, the Delegation was able to meet some student pilots and instructors belonging to the nations already partners of the IFTS project. In fact, the school currently hosts 53 attendees from Qatar, Singapore, Italy, Germany, England, Canada, Japan and Spain, demonstrating the excellence provided by IFTS in the international flight training sector. Just last March 18th, the training process for pilots coming from from Canada and the United Kingdom.

To date, nine foreign air forces have chosen to train their pilots at theInternational Flight Training School. Specifically, these are the Republic of Singapore Air Force, Royal Qatari Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Air Force, German Air Force, Japan Self-Defense Force, Austrian Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force and Swedish Air Force.

The “International Flight Training School” project was born from the strategic collaboration between the Air Force and Leonardo, with the aim of pooling the expertise of the Armed Forces in the military flight training sector and the resources of the Leonardo Company, the largest Italian company in the defense sector, all to the benefit of the entire country system. The project is based on the provision of phase IV courses (Lead in to Fighter Training), frequented by pilots destined for 4th and 5th generation aircraft, such as the F-2000 (Eurofighter) or the F-35.

Officially presented in July 2018 at the Farnborough International Air Show (UK), with work starting in December 2020, the IFTS awards the first phase IV diploma to two pilots of the German Air Force as early as May 2022. The project is today a virtuous reality, an example of national institutional and industrial synergy, capable of satisfying the growing demand of the Air Force and partner countries in the field of advanced training of their pilots. The Decimomannu training center is now a real Campus - of over 130.000 square meters - capable of training up to 80 pilots every year. 

The 61st wing, already recognized internationally in the military flight training sector, is structured to provide increasingly high-performance preparation suited to the training of pilots destined for aerotactic lines. Specifically, the Salento Flight School, of the 4 phases that make up the complete training path of a pilot (the first phase - flight selection - takes place at the 70th wing of Latina), provides training for the second (Primary Pilot Training – common to all military pilot students and aimed at identifying the lines on which they will fly) and third phase (Specialized pilot training – aimed exclusively at student pilots selected for the “Fighter” lines). The fourth and final phase - "Lead In Fighter Training (LIFT)" - takes place at the 212th GV IFTS in Decimomannu, reporting to the 61st wing, preparatory to subsequent use on latest generation fighter aircraft.