Two MV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor Aircraft Have Trained With The Italian Alpine Troops During Mountain Warfare Ex.

One of the MV-22B taking part in Volpe Bianca Ex. (Image credit: Alessandro Maggia)

As part of the Volpe Bianca 2022 exercise, the U.S. Marine Corps aircraft deployed to Italy and carried out training activities with the Italian Army in mountain environment.

Two MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft assigned to the North and West Africa Response Force (NARF) have operated Italy’s western Alps, not far from the French border along with the Alpine Troops of the Esercito Italiano (Italian Army). The aircraft, belonging to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (VMM-365) “Blue Knights” from MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) New River, in North Carolina, deployed from NAS Sigonella, Sicily, to Cameri Air Base where they obtained operational and logistical support by the Italian Air Force.

From there the two aircraft have supported the first phase of Volpe Bianca 2022 – Ca.STA 2022 an annual, two-week exercise, dedicated to combat in the mountains and at high altitudes, whose aim is to verify the level of training of the Alpine Troops of the Italian Army and validate their ability to operate in the winter mountain scenery and in demanding weather conditions.

The MV-22B of the VMM-365 “Blue Knights” during the Winter Resolve phase of Volpe Bianca exercise. (Image credit: Alessandro Maggia)

Planned by the Command of the Alpine Troops of the Italian Army, the drills saw the involvement of the Italian Alpine regiments along with  French and US units: the Julia and Taurinense Brigades, the Alpine Training Center, the 27th French Mountain Infantry Brigade and the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the US Army, along with the specialized departments of the Italian Army, including the 4th Altair Regiment and the 1st Antares of the Italian Army Aviation, teams of the Brigata Informazioni Tattiche (Tactical Information Brigade), the 17th anti-aircraft artillery Sforzesca , along with the Italian Air Force 6° Stormo (Wing) and civil partners.

Sling-load operation (Image credit: Alessandro Maggia)

The 2022 edition of the Alpine Troops’ capability verification was mainly oriented towards mountain warfare, and included four different phases: Steel Blizzard, with movement and combat activities in the mountains; Winter Rescue – with simulations of rescue operations at high altitude – and, in the wake of the tradition of the Alpine Troops Ski Championships, the Ice Challenge and Ice Patrol competitions, respectively individual military and patrol biathlon competitions.

MV-22 at work in the Alps (Image credit: Esercito Italiano)

The Steel Blizzard was itself split into two separate events, called Winter Resolve and Winter Rescue. The first one, Winter Resolve, took place between Feb. 28 and Mar. 3, 2022, and saw the participation of the two MV-22Bs that along with two Italian Army UH-90s carried out missions in the mountains, at high altitudes and in adverse climatic conditions due to snow, ice and very low temperatures. In particular, the Ospreys have carried out personnel and material transportation missions, sling load operations, infiltration and exfiltration of troops as well as MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) sorties.

MEDEVAC mission (Image credit: Esercito Italiano)

The two MV-22s returned to NAS Sigonella on Mar. 4, 2022.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.