NATO air policing: visit of the head of SMA to the "Gladiator" task force in Romania

(To air Force)

On Wednesday 21 December, the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, general of the air team Luca Goretti, met the women and men of the Task Force Air "Gladiator" engaged in Romania in the NATO mission of Enhanced Air Policing Southern Area (eAPAS). The general was received by the commander of the TFA, Colonel Michele Morelli, accompanied by the commander of the Romanian air base, Colonel Nicolae Crețu, testifying to the close ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

General Goretti thanked the personnel deployed since mid-November at Mihail Kogălniceanu airport, in Constanta, “because also thanks to your work, Italy is able to express a leading air force in Europe for flexibility of use and operational readiness. Adhesion logistics is a challenge for our Armed Forces, a challenge that allows us to demonstrate what we are capable of sustaining in multiple operational theaters simultaneously"added the chief of staff. "Ensuring seamless operations between one Task Force and another, as recently happened, means putting our logistics to the test, allowing us to improve further".

During the meeting with the staff of the TFA, there was no lack of a thought for Captain Fabio Antonio Altruda, the pilot officer of the 37th wing of Trapani who tragically died in the plane crash last December 13th. “Even in Fabio's memory”, stressed the head of SMA, "we must continue with his same commitment and passion to serve the country".

The following day, General Goretti was received by his Romanian counterpart, General Viorel Pana, with whom he had a fruitful conversation to discuss the situation on ongoing activities and interoperability between the armed forces of the two countries.

The day then continued with a visit to the logistics facilities, built by the staff of Rapid Airfield Operational System (RAOS) of the 3rd wing of Villafranca and the 3rd engineering department AM, focusing in particular on the mobile hangars used for the shelter of aircraft ready for immediate take-off on alarm - in technical jargon scramble - and within which it can also operate the maintenance personnel in optimal environmental and safety conditions.

During the visit, General Goretti was able to attend a training event - a "Tango Scramble" - during which the Euro Fighter they took off in a very short time for a mission of surveillance and defense of NATO airspace. The visit continued with a briefing by the commander of the TFA, who illustrated the activities of the TFA to the chief of staff Task Force, including the achievement of Full Operational Capability (FOC) in a very short time. The Italian contingent, placed under the direct national dependence of the operational command of interforce forces (COVI), is made up of 150 men and women of the Italian Air Force from flight groups of different groups of the Armed Forces and of technical and logistic personnel who, until the end of July 2023, will operate with the Forṱele Aeriene Romậne to protect the east flank of the Atlantic Alliance.

Afterwards, General Goretti and Colonel Morelli participated in a video link to the greeting that the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, in the presence of the Minister of Defence, the Hon. Guido Crosetto, the Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone and the COVI commander, Army Corps General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, addressed the military contingents engaged in international missions from the COVI operations room in Rome.