The Italian Air Force Declares F-35 Initial Operational Capability

November 30, 2018

The Chief of Staff Italian Air Force announced the achievement of the important milestone in Amendola, on the occasion of the average day of the 4th Flying Course of the Tactical Leadership Program, the first with 5th generation aircraft

"Today is an important day for the Italian Air Force", declared the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, general of the air squadron Alberto Rosso, during the meeting with the press on the occasion of the 4th Flying Course of the Tactical Leadership Program being held in Amendola. "With the achievement of the Initial Operational Capability of our F-35 we are able to express - first in Europe - a real operational capacity with a 5th generation machine, which means the capacity of a system consisting of several aircraft, trained crews to use them, from sustainable maintenance and logistic support over time. We must be proud of this goal, achieved thanks to the work of those who preceded us and those who every day - with commitment, heart and passion - has allowed to achieve incredible results, even in advance compared to what was foreseen.”

"An important day - underlined the Gen Rosso - also for the meaning of this TLP Course, which represents the first concrete integration between 4th and 5th generation weapon systems and an important opportunity to grow and develop together with other nations the essential capabilities that aero-spatial power must be able to express internationally. Amendola is today an excellence for the Defense and for the Country System as it contains a series of projection capabilities towards the future that are unique in Europe. It represents at the best the generational leap that we are experiencing, in which the determining factor is the integration between technology and human element, both in the training and in the operative field.”

The achievement of the IOC testifies the wide operational versatility of the F-35 of the Italian Air Force, the first European Air Force to achieve this goal. The F-35 is a weapon system designed to deal with different types of air operations, able to receive and redistribute an extraordinary flow of essential data to achieve information superiority, a nodal element of modern complex operations.

After the arrival of the first model on the 32nd Stormo, which took place on December 12, 2016, the Air Force launched a tight program to achieve the operational capacity of the 5th generation platform through incremental stages. From the first flight on the sky field of Amendola occurred on January 11, 2017, it has passed - after only a month - to the first flight on another military airport. In October of the same year, with the participation in the most important joint national exercise of the year "Vega 2017", the F-35 worked alongside the assets of the Armed Forces, providing a very important contribution that made it possible to appreciate the extraordinary operational potential that the aircraft is able to offer.

The subsequent integration with all national and NATO command and control systems, as well as with all other weapon systems and the further insertion of the set-up within the National Airspace's air defense warning device are some of the most important goals achieved. To complete the range of operational capabilities offered by the aircraft, training activities were carried out at the Polygone E-War Polygon, in Germany, and the training campaign for air / ground use in the national field.

Participation in the TLP, NATO's focal point in the field of joint tactical training of Allied air forces, represents a very important achievement achieved in the process of integrating the F-35 into the international operational context in the context of complex aerial operations. All activities that testify to the exceptional potential and adaptability to the most diverse contexts of the F-35, a fighter that in fact can be defined omni-role, that is able to simultaneously express numerous operational capabilities, placing it as a strategic asset for the Defense and indispensable in conducting modern operations. The use of the aircraft also represents a capacity amplifier for all the other weapon systems available in the Defense and Coalition fields which, working in synergy with a 5th generation aircraft, acquire a renewed topicality, raising their operational potential.