Italian Air Force, Leonardo meet to check IFTS progress in Sardinia as first Qatari pilots begin training in Italy

IFTS Sardinia Qatari pilots Italy
Members of the Joint Steering Committee of the International Flight Training School (IFTS) check the progress of the new IFTS infrastructures at the Decimomannu AFB, Sardinia.

On 7 June, the members of the Joint Steering Committee of the International Flight Training School (IFTS), made up of representatives of the Italian Air Force and Leonardo, met for the first time to discuss the progress of the joint project for the training of military pilots at the new facility in Sardinia, according to a press release from the Italian Air Force.

The meeting, which was held at the Experimental and Standardization Air Shooting Department (RSSTA) of Decimomannu, Sardinia, marked an important step for the kick-off of the project. It involved the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Air Team General Luca Goretti; the Commander of the Italian Air Force Schools/3rd Air Region, Air Team General Aurelio Colagrande; Eng. Lucio Valerio Cioffi, General Manager of Leonardo and Eng. Marco Zoff, Head of Leonardo Aircraft Division.

The aim of the meeting was to verify the development status of the project, designed to meet the growing demand for advanced flight training, especially for international partners. There are several nations interested in the project and with which negotiations are already in an advanced stage. The members of the committee checked the progress of the construction site, started last December, which provides for the construction of specific areas for the training and management of aircraft, as well as logistics and service structures.

General Goretti underlined how the project has made it possible to increase synergies with the territory, as a driving force for future employment and development opportunities.

Eng. Cioffi underlined how the IFTS represents an excellent example of close collaboration between the Armed Force and Industry with important advantages also for the territory, as well as an opportunity to integrate the consolidated know-how of the Italian Air Force in the training and excellence of Leonardo in systems integrated for the training of military pilots. It will favor the optimization of the cost/effectiveness ratio for pilot training and will strengthen the role of the Italian Air Force and Leonardo in an increasingly complex and competitive international context.

Leonardo reiterated the company's interest in local professional resources by ensuring the completion of the works in time to allow the start of the first class of the IFTS in Sardinia in July 2022.

Pending completion of the works at the new facility, the IFTS courses will continue to be held at the ITAF flight school at 61st Wing in Lecce-Galatina, southern Italy, which will remain a point of reference for the training activity in the joint venture between defense and industry.

On the same day of the meeting in Sardinia, six officers of the Qatar Emiri Air Force started the advanced course at the 61st Wing to obtain the qualification of fighter pilot under the IFTS.

IFTS Sardinia Qatari pilots Italy

The IFTS was born mainly to provide phase IV courses (attended by pilots destined for fourth and fifth generation combat aircraft such as Eurofighter and F-35) and will see, for the first time, working together military instructors of the Italian Air Force and civilian instructors of Leonardo, as part of the Integrated Training System (ITS). The ITS is an integrated platform in which simulators and ground training systems interact with the aircraft in the air, allowing to optimize the cost-effectiveness of training activities.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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