Italy F-35s first reach initial operating capability in Europe

The Chief of the Italian Air Force or Aeronautica Militare Italiana stated that the country’s air force F-35s have reached initial operating capability.

According to Chief of Air Force, General Alberto Rosso, it is the first time the F-35A Lightning II aircraft has achieved the milestone in Europe.

“Today is an important day for the Italian Air force”, Lieutenant General Rosso deared, with the achievement of the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of our F-35 we are able to express – first in Europe – a real operational capability with a 5th generation aircraft, lt means we reached the capability of a system on the aircrafts, we have  crews trained to operate and a long term maintenance and logistic support. We must to be proud of this goal, reached thank to the work of who preceded us and of who every day – with commitment, sentiment and passion – has permitted to reach unbelievable results, even in advance from what was expected”.

“An important day- has underlined Lt Gen. Rosso – also for the meaning of this TLP course, that represents the first concrete integration between systems of 4th and 5th generation and an important opportunity to improve and develop, together with other nations, the essential skills that air power must be able to express at international level. Amendola, base of the 32nd Wing, is an excellence for the Defence and for the Country, as it contains, unique in Europe, future looking capabilities. This Wing well represents the generation jump that we are living, whose key factor is the integration between technology and men power, both in training and operations”.

The achievement of the IOC confirms the wide operational versatility of the F-35 of Italian Air force, first European Air force to accomplish this task. The F-35 is a system conceived to challenge diverse types of air operations, able to receive and redistribute an extraordinary flow of data essential to achieve the information superiority, key element of the modern complex operations.

After the arrival of the first model to the 32nd Wing, the 12th of December 2016, the Italian Air force has started a tight program for the achievement of the operational capability of the 5th generation platform through incremental stages. From the first flight over Amendola, 11th of January 2017, they moved – after only one month – to the first flight over another military airport. On October of the same year, joining the more important national joint exercise of the year, “Vega 2017”, the F-35 has worked side by side with the systems of the other Armed Forces, providing a contribution of unconditional importance that hasb allowed to appreciate the extraordinary operational potential that the aircraft is able of offer. The next integration with all the national and NATO command and control systems, as well as with all the other systems and the further inclusion of the aircraft in the National device of Air Defence of the national airspace, are some of the more important achieved goals. The list of the operational abilities achieved during this roadmap, include the activities at the electronic warfare polygon of Polygone, in Germany, and national training for air to ground use.

Italy has thus far taken delivery of 10 F-35As and one F-35B. Two of the As and the B aircraft are being used for training in the United States, while eight of the As have been deployed to Amendola. However, one aircraft is back at the Italian assembly line for maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade.

The Italian aircraft have totaled 2,000 flying hours.

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