On Thursday 21 October, the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, General Alberto Rosso, and the Chief of Staff of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), General Shunji Izutsu, signed an important agreement on military pilots relating training. The signing, which was held in the “remote” mode, with a link between the offices of the two Generals, in Italy and Japan, sealed an agreement for the participation of Japanese military pilots in advanced training courses (Phase IV) at the International Flight Training School (IFTS), a project carried out in tandem with Leonardo and which provides for an industrial partnership between Leonardo and CAE for the maintenance / support of the aircraft fleet and simulators.
Japan’s interest in the training capabilities of the Italian Air Force was consolidated after a series of contacts and initiatives, culminating in a visit to the 61st Wing in Lecce in September 2020, during which a delegation of the JASDF was able to directly appreciate the excellence of the Italian Air Force training system, with particular reference to the Integrated Training System, developed by Leonardo and based on the T-346A aircraft. The newly signed agreement provides for a gradual and increasing participation of JASDF student pilots over the years. Furthermore, considering the international soul of the IFTS project, in the future Japanese instructors will also be welcomed into the school, who will work side by side with Italian colleagues, in order to share experiences, optimize and standardize procedures, for the benefit of all operators. Japan is the third country, after Qatar and Germany, to join the IFTS project.
General Rosso, before proceeding to sign the document, illustrated its profound significance: “Today is a great and historic date. I am proud and honored to be able to sign this agreement, which will give both countries the opportunity to grow together, to share professional skills and to make our staff work in close contact, synergy and friendship. […] This is another important step in the collaboration between our Air Forces: we are already cooperating with great success in many areas, for example having common platforms such as the F-35 aircraft and the KC-767 tanker. […] The distance that separates us is only geographic, but our countries are close, united and in harmony on many themes and historically connected. I want to remember, for example, the Rome – Tokyo flight of the pioneer Arturo Ferrarin, which we celebrated just last week in his hometown, Thiene: a historic undertaking that is also a powerful symbol of the strong and lasting bond that unites our two countries. “
General Izutsu in turn declared: “In signing this technical agreement today, I want to express my deepest appreciation for the great support and cooperation of your staff. I believe the agreement represents a significant step to deepen cooperation and exchanges in the defense sector between the Koku-Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) and the Aeronautica Militare. This is your great achievement. I want to express my heartfelt respect for your results, together with gratitude for your contribution to the relationship between Japan and Italy. I wish you personally and the Italian Air Force every success, prosperity and progress. “
The IFTS initiative was born from the strategic collaboration between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo for the creation of an advanced flight training center which will be the international reference in the training of military pilots starting from Phase IV (Advanced / Lead-In to Fighter Training). It is an example of collaboration and synergy for the country system which aims to satisfy the growing demand of the Italian Air Force and partner countries for the training of their pilots. The project will in fact allow to double the current training offer through the creation of a new training center distributed between the Galatina base and that of Decimomannu in Sardinia, where the new IFTS campus is under construction. It is a real flight academy capable of hosting students, technical staff as well as recreational areas, canteen, sports facilities, logistic-maintenance infrastructures that will have to manage the operations of the fleet of 22 M-346 aircraft (known as T-346A in the Italian Air Force). An entire building will be dedicated to the Ground Based Training System (GBTS) to house training rooms and installation of a modern training system based on the latest generation of simulation systems.
The partnership between the Italian Air Force, which has a long and consolidated experience in flight training, and Leonardo Spa, leader in integrated training, will allow the former to optimize the cost / effectiveness ratio of flight training, and the latter to strengthen its international position as a “Training Service Provider”.
Source: Italian Air Force
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photo courtesy Leonardo