“Today is an important day for the Italian Air Force,” said Italian Air Force Chief of Staff, General Alberto Rosso, during the press meeting at the 4th Flying Course of the Tactical Leaderhip Program in course in Amendola AB. “With the achievement of the Initial Operational Capability of our F-35 we are able to express – first in Europe – a real operational capacity with a 5th generation aircraft, which means the capacity of a system consisting of several aircraft, trained crews to use them, from sustainable maintenance and logistic support over time. We must be proud of this goal, achieved thanks to the work of those who preceded us and those who every day – with commitment, heart and passion – has allowed us to achieve incredible results, even ahead of schedule“.
“An important day – underlined the Gen. Rosso – also for the meaning of this TLP Course, which represents the first concrete integration between 4th and 5th generation weapon systems and an important opportunity to grow and develop together with other nations the essential capabilities that aerospatial power must be able to express internationally. Amendola is today an excellence for the Defense and for the country system as it contains a series of capabilities towards the future that are unique in Europe. This fighter wing represents at best the generational leap that we are experiencing, in which the determining factor is the integration between technology and human element, both in the training and in the operative field“.
The achievement of the IOC testifies the wide operational versatility of the Italian Air Force F-35As, the first European Air Force to achieve this goal. The F-35 is a weapon system designed to deal with different types of air operations, able to receive and redistribute an extraordinary flow of essential data to achieve information superiority, a nodal element of modern complex operations.
After the arrival of the first aircraft at 32nd Stormo, which took place on December 12, 2016, the Air Force launched a tight program to achieve the operational capacity of the 5th generation platform through incremental stages. From the first flight on Amendola AB occurred on January 11, 2017, it has passed – after only a month – to the first flight on another military airport. In October of the same year, with the participation in the most important joint national exercise of the year “Vega 2017”, the F-35 worked alongside the assets of the Italian Armed Forces, providing a very important contribution that made it possible to appreciate the extraordinary operational potential that the aircraft is able to offer.
The subsequent integration with all national and NATO command and control systems, as well as with all other weapon systems and the further insertion of the set-up within the National Airspace Air Defense are some of the most important goals achieved. To complete the range of operational capabilities offered by the aircraft, training activities were carried out at the Polygone E-War Polygon, in Germany, and the air/ground training campaign.
Participation in the TLP, NATO’s focal point in the field of joint tactical training of Allied air forces, represents a very important achievement in the process of integrating the F-35 into the international operational context and in the context of complex aerial operations. Activities that testify the F-35 exceptional potential and adaptability to the most contexts, a fighter that in fact can be defined omni-role, that is able to simultaneously express numerous operational capabilities, placing it as a strategic asset for the defense and indispensable in conducting modern operations.
Source: Italian Air Force Public Information Office Images and videos: Stefano Monteleone