Swedish and Italian air forces sign ten-year deal to train fighter pilots

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Sweden and Italy have signed an agreement for the training of Swedish fighter pilots at the International Flight Training School (IFTS).  

The deal, signed on December 4, 2023, details that a portion of Sweden’s flight training for fighter pilots will be conducted in Italy, spanning from January 2024 into the next ten years. The Aeronautica Militare (the Italian Air Force), with support from Leonardo Industries, will be responsible for executing the training program.  

The training will be administered by the 61 Stormo (Wing) of the Aeronautica Militare, and is to be based at the Galatina Air Base outside Lecce, as well as the Decimomannu Air Base in Sardinia. 

The IFTS is a joint initiative by the Aeronautica Militare and Leonardo. It involves instructors from the Italian Air Force and Leonardo M-346 jet trainers developed by the Italian manufacturers Aermacchi and Leonardo. 

“I am happy that the agreement has now been signed and that we have the necessary conditions to get started with qualified flight training that meets the requirements of the future,” Swedish Air Force Chief Jonas Wikman said. 

“This is a further significant step for the safety of European skies: finding agreements and synergies between countries that share spaces and orientations is always productive,” Italian Air Force Chief Luca Goretti commented. “Working with Swedish colleagues will represent an opportunity for growth for both countries. This agreement also represents another milestone for the IFTS project.” 

As part of the collaboration, Swedish flight instructors will be dispatched to both of the Italian air bases to undergo tuition on the M-346 trainer. Following this phase, the Swedish flight instructors will subsequently serve as instructors at the IFTS. 

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