Civilian instructor pilots fly M-346 at Leonardo-ITAF International Flight Training School

Flight Training School Galatina Decimomannu
Italian T-346A (M-346) with the IFTS logo on the tail.

Starting from 2019, young student pilots from Italy and from various foreign countries are completing their training process at the Leonardo-ITAF International Flight Training School (IFTS) to obtain the qualification to fly fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft as Eurofighter and F-35.

Their training is very challenging and includes missions similar to those they will have to perform with first-line combat aircraft as Air-to-air refuelling (AAR), use of special night vision goggles (NVG), beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air engagements, use of helmet with data projection display (HMD) and much more.

Students can rely on the school's highly advanced systems, but also on well-trained instructors from the Italian Air Force (ITAF) and Leonardo SpA.

According to Leonardo, the first civilian pilots completed the training last year to be qualified instructors of the students who attend the phase IV (Lead-In to Fighter Training - LIFT) at Galatina AFB, Southern Italy. 

The IFTS is made up of both civilian and military personnel and aircraft from Leonardo and ITAF. Its fleet has 22 T-346A (M-346) advanced trainet jets, four of which are owned by the Italian aerospace company.

IFTS is currently hosting its first students at Galatina AFB, but once the capacity of the base is saturated, the school will be progressively moved to Decimomannu AFB, Sardinia. Galatina will then focus on training phases II and III in which students will fly the new M-345 aircraft delivered starting this year.

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Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Leonardo


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