From T-346 to Eurofighter, 4 Italian pilots begin the operational conversion

Operational Conversion Unit Grosseto
ITAF Eurofighter and T-346A aircraft fly in formation during a ferry flight.

The 20° Gruppo O.C.U. (Operational Conversion Unit) of the Italian Air Force at the 4th Wing of Grosseto, Italy, last april started the first training phase of the 30th Operational Conversion Course to train six young Italian pilots destined for Eurofighter.

For two of the six pilots the course is carried out to make a system change since they come from AMX and MB-339PAN aircraft respectively. The other four officers have recently completed the LIFT (Lead In-to Fighter Training) course in Galatina AFB, southern Italy.

The LIFT course represents "phase 4" of the training process of a fighter pilot, lasts about 8 months and is carried out through the ITS (Integrated Training System) T-346. This platform allows future fighter pilots to fly high-performance aircraft, but also to learn how to manage weapon systems and related sensors and armaments in increasingly complex scenarios and in high-risk situations.

To achieve this, the school uses a bottom-up process in which real flight (aboard T-346 aircraft) is the bottom step in the structured learning process. Most of the training blocks provide a succession of events that start from tutorials to sorties on simulators, initially basic and then very advanced. Real flight is the ultimate learning tool.

Thanks to the advanced capabilities of the T-346A, ItAF can carry out part of the training for fighter pilots using this system, rather than the much more expensive Typhoons (More details here).

At the end of the Operational Conversion Course in Grosseto, the six pilots will be assigned to one of the Italian Air Force's air defense units: 4th, 36th, 37th or 51st Wings.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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