Italy-Qatar: Technical Agreement Signed Between Air Forces for Military Pilot Training
(Source: Italian Air Force; issued November 13, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
A Qatari delegation at Galatina air base in southern Italy, where the Italian Air Force and Leonardo are setting up an International Flight Training School which will notably provide Phase IV training to Qatari military pilots once a contract is signed. (IT AF photo)
On the occasion of the visit of the Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini to Doha concluded a few days ago, in the context of which - among others - various issues concerning bilateral military and technical industrial cooperation were discussed, an important technical agreement between the Qatari and Italian air forces was signed in the field of training of military pilots, which also involves Leonardo SpA through the International Flight Training School (IFTS) project.

Qatar's interest in Italian Air Force capabilities in the pilot training sector stems from a series of bilateral activities, culminating in July 2019 with the visit of the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Deputy Chief of Staff to the 61st Wing of Galatina air base, focused on the T-346A aircraft, on the potential of the ITS (Integrated Training System) and on the training programs at the International Flight Training School (IFTS).

The five-year government-to-government Technical Agreement signed between the Chiefs of Staff of both Air Forces, will govern the legal status and the profiles of responsibility connected to the presence and training of Qatari nationals at Italian Air Force bases for advanced pilot training.

With this agreement, military cooperation between the two countries and in particular between the two Air Forces is reinforced, building on previous agreements under which Qatari pilots are trained using the personnel and training systems of the Italian 46th Air Brigade, based at Pisa.

The IFTS initiative arises from the strategic cooperation between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo SpA for the construction of an advanced flight training center which will be the international benchmark for the Phase IV (Advanced / Lead-In to Fighter Training) training of military pilots.

It is a virtuous example of collaboration and synergy for the “national” system which aims to satisfy the growing demand of the Air Force and of partner countries for the training of their pilots. The project will in fact make it possible to double the current training offer through the establishment of a new training center which will use both Galatina and Decimomannu air bases.

The partnership between the Italian Air Force, which has a long and consolidated experience in flight training, and Leonardo SpA, a leader in integrated training, will allow the former to optimize the cost-effectiveness of flight training and the latter to reinforce its international position as a Training Service Provider.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above agreement lays the legal and technical groundwork for an anticipated agreement under which the Italian Air Force will provide advanced training for Qatari pilots.
It is expected that Qatar will acquire a number of Aermacchi M-346 Master advanced jet trainers as part of the agreement.)


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