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