Italy's International Flight Training School to train Japanese military pilots

After Qatar and Germany, Japan also chooses to send its military pilots to complete operational training in Italy at the Italian Air Force-Leonardo IFTS.

Italy Flight School Japanese pilots
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Alberto Rosso, and the Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), General Shunji Izutsu, show the agreement recently signed for the training of Japanese pilots at the Italy's International Flight Training School.

The Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Lieutenant General Alberto Rosso, and the Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), General Shunji Izutsu, signed an agreement on Thursday that provides for the training of Japanese military pilots in Italy.

Thanks to this agreement, signed remotely, Japanese military pilots will take part in the advanced training courses (Phase IV) at the International Flight Training School (IFTS). The IFTS is a joint project between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo which also includes an industrial partnership between Leonardo and CAE for the maintenance/support of the aircraft fleet and simulators.

Japan's interest in the training capabilities of the Italian Air Force was consolidated after a series of initiatives which culminated in a visit to the 61st Wing in September 2020, where the flight school is based. During the visit, a delegation of the JASDF was able to appreciate the excellent training system of the Italian Air Force, which is focused on the Leonardo M346 Integrated Training System.

The newly signed technical agreement enables a gradual increase in JASDF student pilot intake over the forthcoming years. In the future, Japanese instructors could be welcomed into the school to work side-by-side with Italian colleagues, in an approach that favours the exchange of experiences, the optimization and standardization of procedures, to benefit all the operators in the sector.

Japan is the third country, after Qatar and Germany, to join the IFTS project.

Italy Flight School Japanese pilots

General Rosso, before proceeding to sign the document, underlined the important significance of the agreement. "Today is a great and historic date. I am proud and honored to sign this agreement, which will give both countries the opportunity to grow together, to share professional skills and to make our staff work in synergy and friendship. […] This is a further important step in the collaboration between our Air Forces which are already cooperating with great success in many areas, for example having common platforms such as the F-35 aircraft and the KC-767 tanker. […] The distance that separates us is only geographic, but our countries are close, united and in harmony on many themes and historically connected. An example is the Rome-Tokyo flight of the pioneer Arturo Ferrarin, which we celebrated just last week in his hometown, Thiene. It was a historic enterprise that represents the powerful, strong and lasting bond between our two countries."

General Izutsu also expressed great satisfaction with this agreement. "By signing this technical agreement, I want to express my deepest appreciation for the great support and collaboration received from your staff. I believe that the agreement represents a significant step to deepen cooperation and exchanges in the defense sector between the Koku-Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) and the Italian Air Force. This is your great achievement. I want to express my heartfelt respect for your results, together with gratitude for your contribution to the relationship between Japan and Italy. I wish you and the Italian Air Force success, prosperity and progress."

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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