The International Flight Training School (IFTS) is an internationally renowned example of Italian excellence, a benchmark for the advanced training of military pilots from the world’s air forces who fly first-line fighters, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon or the F-35. One of the world’s most advanced campuses for top guns is under completion in Decimomannu, in the province of Cagliari.
The infrastructural works include the construction of a new logistics and maintenance centre, hangars and flight line for the school’s 22 M-346s, and the creation of GBTS (Ground Based Training System) facilities, inclusive of two Full Mission Simulators and three Part Task Trainer synthetic simulators for emergency management training modules and more advanced training missions, as well as classrooms and offices. These works come on top of those related to the logistic infrastructures (canteen, sports facilities) and the creation of around one hundred accommodation units for the Italian and international visitors who will be trained every year in Decimomannu.
This truly unique infrastructure boasts a very high degree of technological innovation, and will generate significant spin-offs for the local area, both in employment and economic terms. Leonardo and CAE provide operational support to the IFTS through the ‘Leonardo CAE Advanced Jet Training’ joint venture. They do so via an integrated logistic support service, which optimises the management of fleets and simulators for maximum operability.
The school covers a total area of 130,000 sqm, equivalent to 18 football pitches. Approximately 35,000 sqm are dedicated to buildings currently under construction. The project’s international value, the economic and employment spin-offs for the local area associated with an initiative of this scale, and the IFTS’s high level of technology, were the focus of the event held on Sunday, 13 November, at the Decimomannu base.
The event was attended, among others, by the Vice president of the Sardinia Autonomous Region, Giuseppe Fasolino, the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, General Luca Goretti, and, for Leonardo, the Chairman Luciano Carta, the CEO Alessandro Profumo and the General Manager Lucio Valerio Cioffi.
The first courses already started last July, and Qatari, Japanese, German and Singaporean air forces have already chosen IFTS for their pilots. The academy benefits from the Italian Air Force’s flight training expertise and tradition and from Leonardo’s advanced Live, Virtual and Constructive technologies, which allow students to interact, through a simulator, with pilots in the air during a training mission.
The real and the virtual merge into a single operational scenario in this integrated simulation environment. Pilots in the aircraft see on their visors what pilots in simulators see on their ground-based monitors. The reproduction of complex scenarios allows up to 10 friendly and enemy aircraft to interact as if they were all flying in the same patch of sky. To call it augmented reality is almost reductive.
This new training model raises training capabilities to an even higher level. It demonstrates Leonardo’s desire to strengthen its international competitive position as a Training Service Provider in the advanced training sector. Aeronautics research and the ever-wider use of digital technologies will be crucial for operating in increasingly complex and competitive international environments.