Italian Air Force, Italian Navy complete TLP Flying Course 21-04

Italian aircraft TLP Albacete
Italian combat aircraft and personnel at Albacete AFB, Spain.

Personnel and aircraft from seven different nations (Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the United States and the United Kingdom) completed the 2021-04 Flying Course at the Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) in Albacete, Spain, on 3 December. The activity involved 39 aircraft divided between "Blue Air", "Red Air" and support assets.

The Italian Air Force participated in the course with Eurofighters assigned to the 36th Wing and 51st Wing, which carried out multi-role activities such as OCA-DCA (Offensive-Defensive Counter Air) and AI (Air Interdiction), as well as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and a Laser Operator (LO).

During the three week course the crews alternated in the key position of Mission Commander. The Mission Commander has the task of coordinating the different planning phases of a Composite Air Operations (COMAO), training in the operational management of multiple assets with different capabilities from multiple countries.

During this last course of the year, two crews of the Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati (GRUPAER) of the Italian Navy, operating AV-8B Harrier II jump jets, were also qualified as Mission Commander.

The 2021-04 Flying Course also involved four US F-35s deployed at Rota Air Base, Spain, which took part in the Unconventional Assisted Recovery (UAR) mission and two British F-35Bs operating from the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier who took part in the planning phases of the UAR and Integrated Air Defense System Attack (IADS) missions.

The presence of fifth generation aircraft, although limited to only two missions, marked a further step forward in the process of their integration with fourth generation aircraft.

The TLP, which has been based at the Albacete air base since July 2009, is an organization founded on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by 10 nations: Italy, Spain, United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium , Holland, Greece, Germany and Denmark.

The purpose of the TLP is to improve the effectiveness of air operations conducted by the Allied Forces, promoting the development of both assertive leadership skills and those of analysis, planning and execution of the Mission Commander.

The TLP also actively collaborates with NATO on the basis of a "Letter of Agreement" signed by the two Organizations.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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