First Japanese student pilots begin training at International Flight Training School, Italy

Japanese pilots IFTS Galatina
ITAF T-346A advanced trainer aircraft on the flight line at 61st Wing, southern Italy, home to the Italian Air Force-Leonardo International Flight Training School.

The first two Japanese student pilots arrived at the ITAF 61st Wing at Galatina AFB, southern Italy, to attend the advanced training courses (Phase IV) provided by the International Flight Training School (IFTS), January 12, 2022. Their attendance of the Italy's flight school is the result of a Technical Arrangement signed in October 2021 between the Italian Air Force and the Japan Air Self Defense Force.

After an initial in-processing phase at the 61st Wing, the young Japanese pilots will follow a two-month course at the Aviation English Training Center in Loreto, central Italy, before starting the Lead-In to Fighter Training Course (Phase IV) which will allow them to fly high-performance military aircraft. 

Their arrival is part of the IFTS operational start-up process. The IFTS is a project born from the strategic collaboration between the Italian Air Force and the Leonardo Company in order to establish an international center of excellence for the advanced training of military pilots. As of yesterday, the flag of Japan has been flying over the main gate of Galatina AFB, along with those of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Germany, Greece, Qatar, Singapore and the United States. All these countries currently have student pilots and/or flight instructors at the Italian flight school, a unique training center in the world.

Japanese pilots IFTS Galatina

The IFTS brings together two national excellences: the long experience of the Italian Air Force in flight training (it has been training Italian and foreign pilots for over 75 years), and the advanced platforms-systems of the main Italian aerospace company. It is a highly strategic program that aims to meet the growing demand of the Italian Air Force and partner countries for the training of their pilots. The project will make it possible to double the current training offer through the establishment of a new training center divided between Galatina AFB, Lecce-Galatina, and Decimomannu AFB, Sardinia, where a modern and advanced campus is under construction.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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