Six F-35A aircraft and a team composed of pilots and maintainers from the 32nd Wing of the Italian Air Force have flown to the Aircraft Firing Experimental and Standardisation Department (RSSTA) of Decimomannu (Cagliari) for an advanced training cycle o lasting approximately three weeks.
The training activity will allow the pilots of the Amendola-based 13th Group to consolidate the experience gained during the many operational capabilities already attained with the new aircraft, including those related to its use for airspace surveillance, and to continue on the path for the achievement of the full operational capability of the F-35A weapon system, the primary objective after the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) achieved last November during the 4th Flying Course of the TLP carried out at Amendola.
During the course of the deployment, various types of training missions will be carried out, by day and night, in coordination with the RSSTA and the Joint Firing Range at Salto di Quirra. Thanks to the characteristics of the new weapon system, which characterize it as a 5th-generation platform compared to previous generations, in particular because of its unique capabilities in terms of data collection and real-time management (sensor fusion), it is possible to simultaneously achieve in flight the entire range of tactical air capabilities, which in the past were by necessity were carried out by several types of aircraft.
The pilots can thus train, during the same flight, a wide range of missions, including air-to-air combat, simulated engagement of ground targets with precision-guided weapons, ISR activity (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) for data collection to support operations, close air support activities of ground and sea forces, and electronic warfare.
The training missions will be carried out at dedicated altitudes and airspace, within which – thanks to the aircraft’s on-board sophisticated simulation technologies - it will be possible for pilots to also train in tactics, air combat procedures and engagement of ground targets with all types of precision-guided weapons without needing to use and release real weapons.
In fact, everything will be reproduced by on-board computer, thanks to which pilots will be presented during the mission with the different types of threats according to the operational scenario that will be simulated from time to time, so the pilot can train to face and neutralize threats effectively.
Among other things, the capabilities of virtual and embedded training (simulator training and virtual training on board the aircraft itself) allows pilots to train in complete safety on all procedures, tactics and development of the potential of the weapon system, as well as allowing a substantial reduction in costs.