Italian Army and Air Force in Zaragoza for the multinational NATO exercise of the air troops

(To Greater Defense)

The "Folgore" parachute brigade and the 46th air brigade of Pisa have participated in the last few days in the Swift Response 23, the most important training event dedicated to air troops within NATO, which aims to improve the ability to conduct airborne operations and strengthen existing ties in the international airborne community, increasing interoperability with allied partners.

The multinational exercise took place from 8 to 11 May in Spain, between the airport of Zaragoza and the San Gregorio training area, and involved more than 2000 soldiers from 6 countries: France, Italy, Portugal , Spain, the United States and Hungary.

The Italian participation saw the use of assets and personnel of the Italian Army and of the Air Force: for the occasion, maneuver and reconnaissance units of the 183rd parachute regiment "Nembo" were deployed, assets of the parachuting training center, team of the 8th “Folgore” sappers regiment and a C-130J of the 46th air brigade.

In all, the aircraft employed were: 6 American C-17s and 1 C-130J; 2 Spanish A-400 and 1 C-295; 1 Italian C-130J.

During the exercise, among the many activities carried out, the real airdrop of the JPADS system (Joint Precision Air Delivery) was carried out, a precision system for the release of airborne supplies, or a GPS autonomous driving system, called AGU (Autonomous Guidance Unit), which allows material to be air-dropped at high altitude and landed precisely on a pre-established point of impact.

Acquired by the Armed Forces in the 2000s, it was fully qualified on the C-130J aircraft through a campaign of Operational Test and Evaluation conducted by the 46th Air Brigade, from experimental flight department and from the brigade thunderbolt.

Participation in the exercise also made it possible to maintain the training levels and operational specialization of the crews of the 46th air brigade, as well as to consolidate interoperability with the "Folgore" parachute brigade, which provided support for the conditioning of materials in special containers and/or on specific platforms.

"Swift Response 23" is the first of the three main exercises that make up DEFENDER 23 (Dynamic Employment of Forces to Europe for NATO Deterrence and Enhanced Readiness 2023), led by USAREUR-AF (United States Army Europe and Africa), with the aim of enhancing the capabilities to conduct large-scale maneuvers in Europe, under the leadership of multinational forces.