The two German Air Force pilots have become the first international graduates of the IFTS.
The IFTS (International Flight Training School), a joint venture between the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) and Leonardo in collaboration with CAE, graduated the first international student pilots. After 9 months of training at the Italian flight school, two German Air Force (Luftwaffe) pilots have just completed the Phase IV (Advanced/Lead-In to Fighter Training – LIFT) course, the most advanced and challenging segment of the fighter pilots’ training during which trainees undertaking state-of-the-art multirole training are called to perform air-to-air as well as air-to-ground sorties with multiple threats and complex set ups.
The flying activities took place at the 61° Stormo (Wing) at Galatina Air Base, in southeastern Italy, where the IFTS is headquartered until it can relocate at the campus being built at Decimomannu Air Base, Sardinia, (where a groundbreaking ceremony was held in December 2020 to mark the beginning of the construction works). When completed, it will be a flight academy capable of hosting students and technical staff, in addition to accommodation, recreational areas, a cafeteria, sports facilities. An entire building will be home to the GBTS (Ground-Based Training System), with classrooms and the installation of a modern training system, which is based on the latest generation of simulation devices.
Although IFTS has not permanently moved there yet, the last part of the LIFT course took place in “Deci”, that is home to the AWTI (Air Weapons Training Installation), a fully integrated training installation with air-to-air and air-to-ground as well as an EW (Electronic Warfare) range. Interestingly, the photos released by the Italian Air Force and Leonardo show the German pilots who just graduated at the IFTS posing next to M-346s carrying BRD 4-250 (Bomb and Rockets Training Dispenser), used to load four Low-drag BDU-33D/B bombs for use in the ranges.
The IFTS will operate a fleet of 22 M-346 jets: four Leonardo owned aircraft (the latter of those was delivered in October 2019) and 18 Italian Air Force T-346As (as the M-346 is designated by the Italian MOD Mission Design Series). Training at the IFTS is delivered by a cadre of active-duty Italian Air Force and highly experienced international former military instructor pilots.
Along with the German Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force and the Japan Air Self Defense Force have already elected to send pilots to the Italian IFTS.