Leonardo and the Italian Air Force (AF) signed a collaboration agreement to strengthen the training services offered by the Italian Air Force’s 61st Wing and establish an International Flight Training School (IFTS) to support military pilot training. The IFTS will deliver courses for the Italian AF and international AF crews to train military pilots worldwide, maximize the quality of pilot training and meet the demand for international training services.

The IFTS will use Italian AF training assets and military pilot training, and in 2019 Leonardo will provide four M-346 aircraft, new systems and services. Leonardo says the Italian AF’s training syllabus will be based on its integrated training system, which meets the requirements of other countries’ Air Forces.

Leonardo’s integrated training program is based on the M-346 jet, designated the T-346A by the Italian AF, and will provide operational training to prepare pilots for transition to the latest-generation combat aircraft including the Eurofighter and the F-35. The jet will also use Leonardo’s live-virtual-constructive training to let trainees on the ground interact with pilots in the air during the same training missions.

Leonardo says it plans to extend this business model to cover fixed-wing, rotary-wing and remotely-piloted platforms, and is in discussions with Babcock International Group Plc and CAE to reinforce the school’s capabilities.