Further to Qatar and Germany, Japan has also chosen to send its military pilots to complete their operational training at the Italian Air Force’s and Leonardo’s International Flight Training School (IFTS).
The Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, General Alberto Rosso, and the Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), General Shunji Izutsu, have signed today an important technical arrangement on the training of Japanese military pilots.
The technical arrangement was signed in “distance mode”, through a connection between the offices of the two Generals in Italy and Japan. Thanks to this agreement, the Japanese military pilots will take part in the advanced training courses (Phase IV) at International Flight Training School (IFTS). The IFTS is a joint project made by the Italian Air Force and Leonardo, that includes also an industrial partnership between Leonardo and CAE for the maintenance/support of the aircraft fleet and simulators.
Japan’s interest in the training capabilities developed by the Italian Air Force was consolidated after a series of discussions and initiatives that culminated in a visit to the 61st Wing at Lecce-Galatina Air Force Base on September 2020. This was when a JASDF delegation was able to appreciate the excellence of the Italian Air Force’s training system, particularly the Integrated Training System developed by Leonardo and centred around the T-346A aircraft.
The newly signed technical arrangement 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 choose the International Flight Training School (IFTS) for its pilots.
The Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, General Alberto Rosso, before signing the document, underlined its profound significance: “Today is an important and historical date. I am proud and honoured to be able to sign this agreement, which will outline for both countries the track for growing together, sharing professional skills, allowing our staff to work in close contact, synergy and friendship. This is another important step in the collaboration between our Air Forces: we 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 today is geographical only, but our countries are close, joined in harmony on many themes and historically connected. We remember, for example, the “Rome – Tokyo flight” of the pioneer Arturo Ferrarin, which we celebrated last week in his hometown of Thiene (North Italy): a historic undertaking and also a powerful symbol of the strong and lasting bond that joins our two countries.”
Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), General Shunji Izutsu, commented: “Signing today the technical arrangement, I deeply appreciate you and your staff’s extensive support and cooperation. I believe that this is a significant step to deepen defence cooperation and exchanges between the Koku-Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) and the Italian Air Force. This is one of your great achievements. Let me extend my heartfelt respect for your achievements and gratitude for your contribution to the Japan-Italy relationship. I really wish your continued success and prosperity, and progress for the Italian Air Force.”
The International Flight Training School (IFTS) is the result of a strategic collaboration between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo, which is aimed at the establishment of an advanced flight training centre based in Italy. It is a virtuous example of collaboration and public-private synergy, capable of satisfying the growing demand of partner countries for the training of their pilots at the highest standards. The project is intended to double today’s training offer by creating a new training centre distributed between the bases of Galatina and Decimomannu, in Sardinia, where the new IFTS Campus is under construction. It will be a real flight academy capable of hosting students, technical staff and featuring accommodations as well as recreational areas, a cafeteria, sports facilities. Its logistic-maintenance infrastructures will assure the operations of the fleet of 22 M-346 (designated T-346A by the Italian Air Force) aeroplane fleet. An entire building will be home to the Ground-Based Training System (GBTS), with classrooms and the installation of a modern training system based on the latest generation simulation devices.
The partnership between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo combined the Air Force’s established know-how and Leonardo’s excellence in military pilot integrated training systems maximizing cost-effectiveness for the Italian Air Force, whilst strengthening the international role played by Leonardo as a Training Service Provider.”