Italian Air Force receives two additional T-346A jets to bolster International Flight Training School fleet

Leonardo International Flight Training School
Italian Air Force receives first 2 additional T-346A jets as part of International Flight Training School project.

The 61st Wing of the Italian Air Force (ItAF) at Lecce Galatina AB, south of Italy, recently received two advanced T-346A trainer jets in according to the agreement signed between Aeronautica Militare and Leonardo to launch the International Flight Training School (IFTS).

The IFTS project provides for the delivery of four M-346 aircraft by Leonardo, which will be added to the other 18 jets already in the fleet of 61st Wing, to meet the growing demand for training of foreign air forces.

The Galatina Air Base will play a key role in the project thanks to its long and well-established operational expertise. The strengthening of the 61st Wing to reach the maximum operational capacity is a fundamental step for the establishment of the IFTS. This goal will be achieved starting from 2020 when the brand new integrated training system arrives in Galatina. This system is based on the M-345 HET – High Efficiency Trainer aircraft (designated T-345 by the Air Force) which will progressively replace the T-339A (used for the Phase II of training) and the T-339C (used for the Phase III).

The IFTS will be focused on the Fase IV - Lead In to Fighter Training - LIFT - of the training iter that is intended to prepare pilots for modern combat aircraft as Eurofighter and F-35A. It will also meet the demand for pilot training from foreign air forces while foreseeing a possible further expansion with another base in Italy.

The Galatina Air Force Base is equipped with the latest technologies that includes the T-346A and the advanced M-346 simulator, which allows the trainees on the ground to interact with the pilots in the air during the same training missions.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source: Italian Air Force and Leonardo
Images: Italian Air Force

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