Chief of Staff of Swiss Air Force visits Italian Air Force's flight school

Switzerland pilot training Italy
Italian Air Force T-346A advanced trainer jets taxi out of the shelter at Lecce-Galatina air base,
southern Italy.

The Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Air Squad General Alberto Rosso, met the Chief of Staff of the Swiss Air Forces, Major General Bernhard Müller, at the Palazzo Aeronautica in Rome, to take stock of the current cooperation between the air forces of the two countries, June 17.

This cooperation focuses on the common use of the neighboring airspace between the air forces of Italy and Switzerland for training activities and Italy's support for the defense of Swiss airspace, as per the recently renewed agreements between the two nations.

During his stay in Italy, Müller also visited the flight school of the Italian Air Force at the 61° Stormo (61st Wing) in Lecce-Galatina, southern Italy, June 18.

In Galatina he was welcomed by the Commander of the Air Force Schools/3rd Air Region, Air Squad General Aurelio Colagrande and by the Commander of the 61st Wing, Colonel Filippo Nannelli, who introduced him to the activities carried out by the Department and the advanced training package offered by the International Flight Training School (IFTS).

Switzerland will shortly select an advanced fighter aircraft to replace its old fleet of F/A-18 Hornets. With the introduction of the new platform, the Swiss Air Force may need to send their pilots to carry out the Lead-In to Fighter Training (LIFT) phase abroad.

Currently, the student pilots of the Swiss Air Force complete their training in the Pilatus PC-21 before starting to fly the Hornet. Previously they carried out a further phase in which they flew the F-5 Tiger II jet, but in the late nineties the service realized that there was too much difference in the systems between the F-5 and the Hornet and opted for exclusive use of the PC-21 (it boasts a cockpit more similar to that of the F/A-18). Switzerland may face the same problem after selecting the new fighter which will feature more advanced systems than those of the Hornet. Future pilots will certainly need to get more advanced training.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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