Aeronautics

IFTS: A Deep Dive Into The Joint Italian Air Force – Leonardo Training Centre

Summary

One of many Leonardo-owned M-346s of the Worldwide Flight Coaching Faculty. (Photograph: Leonardo) The IFTS will practice as much as 80 pilots per yr utilizing devoted infrastructures, coaching ranges and reserved airspace. The Worldwide Flight Coaching Faculty (IFTS) has turn […]

IFTS


IFTS
One of many Leonardo-owned M-346s of the Worldwide Flight Coaching Faculty. (Photograph: Leonardo)

The IFTS will practice as much as 80 pilots per yr utilizing devoted infrastructures, coaching ranges and reserved airspace.

The Worldwide Flight Coaching Faculty (IFTS) has turn into internationally famend, all through its 4 years of operations, as one of the most advanced and state-of-the-art flight schools for the coaching of future fighter jet pilots. The college is now a global reference for Superior/Lead-In to Fighter Coaching (LIFT) to raised put together pilots that can fly on front-line fighters of 4+ and fifth gen, just like the Eurofighter Hurricane and the F-35.

The IFTS was created in 2018 as the results of a partnership between Leonardo and the Italian Air Drive to create a complicated flight coaching centre by bringing collectively two nationwide excellences: the talents in coaching navy pilots from the Italian Air Drive, strengthened via more than 75 years of experience at Galatina Air Base’s flight school, with the superior technological options of Leonardo, Italy’s main industrial physique within the subject of aerospace and defence.

Leonardo and CAE, via the three way partnership “Leonardo CAE Superior Jet Coaching”, present technical-logistic assist to the Worldwide Flight Coaching Faculty, together with full upkeep and operation of the M-346 aircraft and its Floor-Based mostly Coaching System, in addition to operation of IFTS base amenities. The built-in assist optimises the administration of fleets and simulators for max operability, together with the superior full-mission simulator collectively developed by Leonardo and CAE.

The IFTS programme has a really excessive strategic worth and can enable, as soon as absolutely operational, the doubling of the present supply, coaching as much as 80 new pilots per yr. The scholars might be adopted all through their coaching by a staff of 40 instructors, whereas flying greater than 8000 flight hours per yr on the Leonardo M-346 Grasp and as many within the superior flight simulators, for a few 1:1 ratio between actual and simulated flight hours.

This objective might be reached with the creation of a brand new coaching centre which, for the navy aspect, will stay under the command of the 61° Stormo (Wing). Due to its ongoing growth, the college might be distributed between Galatina Air Base, the place the Italian Air Drive will proceed to hold out its fundamental coaching actions, and the brand new superior pilot coaching campus being constructed at Decimomannu Air Base, within the Sardinia area.

Already envisaged within the 2018 technical settlement between Leonardo and the ItAF, the brand new campus in Decimomannu will take full benefit of the Sardinian training infrastructures already used for years by the Italian navy. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in December 2020 to formally start building of the college, which covers a complete space of 130,000 sqm, of which 35,000 sqm are devoted to buildings. Works are continuing at a fast tempo, permitting a primary coaching course to start out there in July 2022, forward of the transfer of the college from Galatina to Decimomannu subsequent yr.

This really distinctive infrastructure, designed around the training needs of future student pilots, boasts a really excessive diploma of technological innovation. A complete newly constructed constructing might be devoted to the Floor Based mostly Coaching System (GBTS) amenities, with latest-generation simulation methods, inclusive of two Full Mission Simulators and three Half Activity Coach artificial simulators for emergency administration coaching modules and extra superior coaching missions, in addition to lecture rooms and workplaces.

These simulators enable built-in coaching eventualities between simulated and actual plane, due to Live Virtual and Constructive (LVC) technologies which permit college students on the bottom to work together with pilots within the air throughout a coaching mission. The true and the digital worlds merge right into a single operational state of affairs on this built-in simulation surroundings, with as much as 10 pleasant and enemy plane in a position to work together as in the event that they have been all flying in the identical patch of sky.

A rendering of the hangarettes being constructed to host the M-346 on the flight line at Decimomannu air base. (Picture: Leonardo)

The truth is, pilots flying on the M-346 see on their Helmet Mounted Shows what pilots in simulators see on their ground-based displays permitting, throughout the identical coaching mission, pilots within the simulator and pilots in the actual plane to fly in formation or perform Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) in opposition to one another as in the event that they have been each flying the actual plane. As Leonardo talked about of their displays of IFTS, to name it augmented actuality is sort of reductive.

The 61° Stormo and IFTS share a fleet of twenty-two M-346, of which 4 are Leonardo owned plane and 18 are Italian Air Drive T-346As (because the M-346 is designated by the Italian MOD Mission Design Sequence). The plane are outfitted with the Embedded Tactical Coaching System (ETTS) which permits the plane to emulate sensors, weapons and Computer-Generated Forces (CGF) and permits pilots to work together in real-time, via the LVC coaching we simply talked about. The plane, in service in Italy and in a number of nations, has already proved itself as, if not essentially the most, probably the most superior coaching plane at present obtainable.

The infrastructural works within the new campus clearly embody the development of a brand new logistics and upkeep centre, hangars and flight line reserved for the college’s 22 M-346s, which will be soon moved from Galatina to Decimomannu, with out impacting the periodic coaching deployments of the operational items. The works on the GBTS and M-346 infrastructures come on prime of these associated to the logistic infrastructures and the creation of round 100 lodging items for Italian and worldwide college students, instructors and technical workers.

The college employs a extremely skilled staff of teacher pilots, each navy and civilian, and the superior built-in coaching system centered on Leonardo’s M-346 plane, to coach navy pilots to function the newest era fighters. That is carried out via coaching programmes with modules tailored to the requirements of the varied taking part air forces, offering the scholars with the technical and procedural expertise crucial for deployment in trendy, more and more complicated operational eventualities.

The Superior/Lead-In to Fighter Coaching of the IFTS programme corresponds to the Part IV course of the Italian Air Drive coaching syllabus. This part prepares the best way for subsequent deployment of newly certified pilots on front-line fighter plane, downloading as a lot actions as attainable from the workload of the Operational Conversion Models and sparing flight hours of the costlier operational fighters.

The evolution of entrance line fight plane that must function in a hi-tech airspace utilizing new era avionics whereas using PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions), EW (Electronic Warfare) suites and several other hi-tech sensors, has referred to as for an entire redesign of the coaching syllabus: trendy pilots must put extra give attention to the administration of the onboard methods relatively than the dealing with of the plane.

A pupil pilot throughout a coaching session within the Full Mission Simulator. (Photograph: Leonardo)

With the intention to develop these expertise earlier than being assigned to the OCUs, pupil pilots want to coach on superior trainers providing a excessive thrust-to-weight ratio, supersonic pace at excessive altitude, wonderful maneuverability, glass cockpit, contact screens, radar, a number of datalinks, LVC interfaces, Voice Instructions, Helmet Mounted Show and the plethora of recent sensors they’ll discover within the Eurofighter Hurricane, the F/A-18 Hornet, the Dassault Rafale or the F-35 Lightning II. The M-346 provides all these features required to prepare future combat pilots for 4+ and fifth gen. fighters.

This allowed trainees to practice flying in every modern operating scenario, dealing with essentially the most refined sensors and the varied varieties of mission methods at present in use by their future assigned plane (each within the air and on the bottom). The whole course features a complete of roughly 150 simulator and actual flight coaching classes, flown in all climate circumstances, throughout day and night time, with the help of Helmet Mounted Shows and Night time Imaginative and prescient Techniques.

Through the Part IV, college students even have the chance to coach in real-life taking pictures eventualities in devoted coaching areas in Sardinia, giving them the flexibility to right away take a look at on the sphere the talents acquired. Decimomannu is, in truth, home to the AWTI (Air Weapons Training Installation), a completely built-in coaching set up with air-to-air and air-to-ground in addition to an EW (Digital Warfare) vary. The college’s transfer there’ll give extra ease of entry to the ranges and coaching areas at any time, with out the necessity for periodic deployments from Galatina and the next planning and logistic burden.

Qatari, Japanese, German and Singaporean air forces have already chosen IFTS for his or her pilots. There’s, in truth, a rising demand for coaching by accomplice nations, most of these are merely not outfitted with “home” options to organize their pilots for 4th and fifth era plane. Germany is one instance, because it’s not outfitted with devoted trainers and trains its pilots in worldwide flight faculties.

Two pilots of the Luftwaffe have been the primary to finish their coaching on the Worldwide Flight coaching Faculty earlier this yr, adopted a month later by six pilots from the Qatar Emiri Air Drive. The pilots have concluded the Superior/Lead-In to Fighter Coaching part after virtually a yr’s intensive coaching at Lecce-Galatina Air Base.

Within the case of the Qatari pilots, the coaching course started with an preliminary part designed to carry the pilots (all with a turboprop background on the PC-21) up-to-speed with the necessities of the part IV programme, coated the usual fighter pilot coaching syllabus. The German pilots were already trained to fly T-38C jet trainers at Sheppard Air Drive Base’s Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Coaching, so their preliminary module was tailor-made otherwise to take this under consideration.

A rendering of the constructing that can host the Floor Based mostly Coaching System. (Picture: Leonardo)

Because the IFTS growth in Decimomannu will get within the last levels earlier than its completion, the air base hosted an occasion to focus on the mission’s worldwide worth, the financial and employment spin-offs for the native space and the excessive degree of know-how of the college. The occasion was attended, amongst others, by the Chief of Workers of the Italian Air Drive, Common Luca Goretti, and, for Leonardo, the Chairman Luciano Carta, the CEO Alessandro Profumo and the Common Supervisor Lucio Valerio Cioffi.

Through the go to, Gen. Goretti, expressed nice satisfaction for the synergy between the Air Drive, Leonardo, the Autonomous Area of Sardinia and all of the neighboring municipalities, in giving life to such a unique project. ” We’re a cohesive staff that permits us to pool navy expertise and experience in flight coaching of the Armed Forces, with the know-how of Italian trade, to the advantage of your complete nation system”, mentioned Gen. Goretti. “We’re acknowledged as leaders on the planet in flight coaching and the attestation of belief that worldwide aeronautical realities acknowledge us are a transparent instance of this”.

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo’s CEO, additionally added: “In Decimomannu we’re constructing an infrastructure like few others of its type on the planet and which brings a really excessive diploma of technological innovation. Leonardo’s investments are already producing essential territorial results each by way of superior expertise and by way of employment and economics”, mentioned Mr. Profumo. “It’s a new coaching mannequin that takes coaching expertise to a fair larger degree and which permits us to strengthen our worldwide aggressive positioning within the superior coaching sector additionally as a Coaching Service Supplier”.



Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT methods utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.





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