Joint Exercise for the Italian Air Force’s F-35As and the Royal Air Force’s F-35Bs

September 22, 2020

On July 22 three F-35A stealth fighters of the Italian Air Force, on their way back from the deployment in support of NATO Icelandic Air Policing in Keflavik, Iceland, deployed at Marham Air Base, UK, to conduct a joint training activity with the Royal Air Force (RAF).

After fulfilling the task of “Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland's Peacetime Preparedness Needs”, some Italian pilots and technicians took part in an international cooperation activity aimed at exchanging information and training on the STOVL variant of the F-35, as well as optimizing the interoperability between the 4th and 5th generation systems.

Operating from Marham, the Italian Air Force F-35As belonging to the 32nd Wing of Amendola AFB carried out an Offensive Counter Air (OCA) mission together with the RAF F-35B and USAF F-15C and F-15E fighters in a modern and complex aerial scenario. The mission involved both Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) systems, to protect the Target, and aircraft with the Red Air role (Aggressor). The data link systems of the F-35 together with common and shared tactics were decisive to allow full interoperability of the 5th generation and the integration between 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft.

The commanders of the two squadrons, the Italian Air Force XIII Group of the 32nd Wing and the RAF 617 Squadron (in charge for the training of the UK pilots destined for the F-35), shared the importance and added value that these exercises bring to the operational growth of their staff.

Learn more from the Ministero Della Difesa.