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Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 08 Nov 2019, 00:36
by spazsinbad
Dec 2019 Giovanni Colla

"Italy deployed F-35A Lightning IIs operationally for the first time in October to undertake the NATO air policing mission safeguarding Iceland’s airspace, and Combat Aircraft was granted exclusive access to the detachment at Keflavík.

WITH ITS REMOTE geographical location and total lack of organic air defense capabilities, Iceland relies completely on its NATO allies for air policing. A periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft at Keflavík air base is viewed as being sufficient to maintain the integrity of its airspace. In contrast with the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission, which involves continuous coverage, the Icelandic government has consistently only requested an average of three annual deployments, with each lasting for three to four weeks.

In late September, the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare, AM) spearheaded the third Icelandic fighter detachment of 2019 under its Task Force Air (TFA) 32nd Wing, dubbed Operation ‘Northern Lightning’. As the name alludes, this saw six F-35As from the 13° Gruppo of the 32° Stormo at Amendola heading north to patrol Iceland’s airspace....

...A team from Amendola began to work on specific requirements including scramble operations that focused on the Icelandic scenario. An advance party then flew to Iceland on September 23 to set up a force protection team, a headquarters and the necessary communications equipment. The six jets were then deployed as four aircraft on September 25 and a further pair the following day — flying direct from Italy. The entire move was supported by four KC-767A and eight C-130J missions, while a P-72A from the 41° Stormo provided search and rescue cover....

...Explaining the reasoning behind allocating F-35s to this relatively benign mission, Task Group Lightning commander Maj Giuseppe (full name withheld for security considerations) commented: ‘The added value of the F-35 is its ability to take information — even from a distance of the unidentified aircraft — and pass it in real time to the command and control chain. Therefore the aircraft allows me — even before making the VID [visual identification] — to have the necessary information, after which we can complete the intercept to check all the other data that is requested from us in flight.’...

....The climatic conditions also served as a useful test for the ability to adapt to any temperatures. Maj Giuseppe concluded: ‘The aircraft can move from the extreme heat of Arizona to the cold of this part of the world. The F-35 is ready to go in all weather conditions.’"

Photo: "The pilots ‘stepped’ to the jets fully kitted out and prepared for the cold Icelandic climate."

Source: Combat Aircraft Magazine December 2019 Volume 20 Number 12

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 09 Nov 2019, 04:29
by boilermaker
doge wrote:It's written about the takes time and effort of flight list check work.
It's written that list check of F-35 is automatic. Interesting. 8)
Because it is long, I will not quote the latter half. (Omitted part: about MADL and ALIS.) ... -avanzato/
F-35, SPECIAL AVIATION REPORT: one day with the Hawks of the 32nd Wing
In Decimomannu with the 5th generation aircraft of the Air Force engaged in advanced training
Gianluca Conversi 20 March 2019 Aeronautica Militare
"Six F-35A aircraft and a team composed of pilots and maintenance personnel of the 32nd Air Force Wing have deployed these days at the Experimental and Standardization Unit of Air Shooting (RSSTA) of Decimomannu (Cagliari) for a cycle of about three weeks of advanced training ".

So, regarding the HMDS, the fighterpilot podcast piece on the F22 mentioned that it does not have the HMDS because of the raised seat and the helmet being too big hitting the canopy. A trade off was made so that the F22's performance and what not were kept because the conversion to a F22 with HMDS would have reduced its capability. He did seem to mention that it does have helmet cueing and not HMDS.

Anyone see it that way?

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 09 Nov 2019, 04:55
by boilermaker
Corsair1963 wrote:Italy complains about the cost. Yet, buys 15 F-35B's for the Italian Air Force and 15 F-35B's for the Italian Navy! :doh:

This is for hidden dispersed sites. Europe has this doctrine of spreading materials for defense since the Cold War.

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 11 Nov 2019, 03:26
by Corsair1963
boilermaker wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:Italy complains about the cost. Yet, buys 15 F-35B's for the Italian Air Force and 15 F-35B's for the Italian Navy! :doh:

This is for hidden dispersed sites. Europe has this doctrine of spreading materials for defense since the Cold War.

Absurd as 30 F-35B's aren't enough for both the Cavour and Trieste alone. Plus, splitting them between the Italian Air Force and Navy just drives up the cost. (my point)

As for hidden dispersed sites most air forces have such plans. Regardless, if they have STOVL Types like the F-35B or Harrier.

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 11 Nov 2019, 05:01
by charlielima223
boilermaker wrote:
So, regarding the HMDS, the fighterpilot podcast piece on the F22 mentioned that it does not have the HMDS because of the raised seat and the helmet being too big hitting the canopy. A trade off was made so that the F22's performance and what not were kept because the conversion to a F22 with HMDS would have reduced its capability. He did seem to mention that it does have helmet cueing and not HMDS.

Anyone see it that way?

Better to ask that over here...


Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2019, 10:34
by doge
Bold is my favorite part. 8)
How very good is the intercept/fuel on F-35? :devil: ... debriefing
Italy’s F-35 deployment to Iceland: post-mission debriefing
16/11/2019 By Paolo Valpolini
Colonel Stefano Spreafico, CO Task Force Air (TFA) 32nd Wing, briefed the participants to the Defence iQ Fighter Conference on the mission that saw his F-35s deployed to Iceland as part of NATO’s Air Policing mission, Italy thus becoming the first NATO country to employ the Lightening II operationally within the Alliance.

“We deployed the advanced party on September 23,” Spreafico said, “four jets being transferred one day later and two more the following day.” To cover the distance between their base in Amendola and their redeployment airport at Keflavik, over 2,000 NM, the Italian F-35s had to refuel twice, once over northern Italy and once over Scotland, fuel being provided by an Italian Air Force KC-767A tanker provided by the 14th Wing, a P-72A from the 41st Wing ensuring the Oceanic Search and Rescue capability in case of need, as neither the British nor the Iceland Coast Guards ensures such capability between the two islands. All six jets were deployed by September 25 following a ferry flight of around 5 hours 30 minutes, and started familiarisation flights two days later.

Overall 130 Italian Air Force personnel were deployed within TFA 32, which structures mimicked that of Italian Air Force Wings although obviously with reduced numbers. Beside the limited staff of the Task Force HQ, TFA 32 was made of three main elements, Task Group Lighting, Force Protection, security was a key issue with the F-35, and Combat Service Support. Beside the Flight component, the Operations Branch and the Maintenance Branch, which included some 50 technicians, a fourth element peculiar to the F-35 aircraft was part of Task Group Lighting, the ALIS. This acronym stands for Autonomic Logistics Information System, which allows F-35 operators to plan ahead, to maintain, to plan and sustain the new fighter.

According to Col. Spreafico, the procedures learned during previous deployments to Iceland flying the Eurofighter Typhoon proved solid and efficient, an were fully exploited during the training phase that started in July 2019 and that was mainly focused on air-to-air interception, especially of heavy aircraft, as well as on QRA operations, while the maintainers build up was aimed at operating in cold weather conditions, much different from those of southern Italy in July.

On October 1st, following some more flying and all briefings by the NATO team, the TFA 32 reached its Initial Operational Capability. Two “Tango” scrambles followed that same day, and following a third training scramble on October 2nd the NATO evaluators stated the fully compliance and declared the Full Operational Capability of the Italian detachment, two days ahead of schedule.

Operational activity then started, consisting mainly of cold weather scramble operations, conditions being definitely different from those met in southern Italy. The alert chain was triggered by the Icelandic Coast Guard Control and Reporting Centre where Italian personnel was also embedded, the Italian Air Force having deployed its members in all key organisations to follow all activities both under the operational and the training aspects.

The TFA32 was obviously fully integrated into the NATO Air Defence System, scramble orders reaching the units via Link 16 directly from the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) based in Uedem, Germany, north of Düsseldorf, responsible for all the Alliance air activities north of the Alps. All was received on digital channels without any voice command, down to the single aircraft.

In less than one month Italian F-35 flew 103 sorties, 14 of them at night, for a total of 159 flight hours, to which we must add the 65 flight hours of the ferry flight between Amendola and Keflavik and back. Eight to 10 sorties per day were planned, some training missions involving all six Lighting II operating in a two versus four scenario or in a four versus two plus four virtual opponents injected by the embedded training system. According to Col. Spreafico the system provides very reliable and complex scenarios both in air-to-air and air-to-ground domains. Military flight activity in Iceland was scarce, which limited training with other assets: the TFA32 took the opportunity to carry out slow mover intercept training with an Italian C130J deployed for logistic support and with a Danish Sea Hawk helicopter operating in the area, deployed on board a frigate that allowed also to carry out simulated attacks against a naval target. Moreover, six Tango Scrambles were inducted directly by the Uedem CAOC.

The experience gained in previous Iceland deployments, with Tornados, Predators and Eurofighters, allowed to adequately tailor the logistic footprint. The efficiency proved very high, although no numbers were given, Col. Spreafico also underlining the high robustness of the aircraft, that were ready to fly again after a quick turnaround and refuelling. Some maintenance activities related to low observability were carried out, a challenging task for Italian specialists. The Keflavik base was the last mile for spare parts deliveries, which helped in having spares at hand very quickly when needed. One aircraft had to divert to the alternate base, the only one being Akureyri, over 200 km northeast of Keflavik, a six-hours drive trip. The aircraft landed there on Friday afternoon, a Force Protection team being immediately dispatched while the problem was assessed and the needed spares identified. These arrived on Sunday at Keflavik and were immediately transferred allowing the fighter to be back in Keflavik on Monday morning ready to carry out the afternoon mission. “This was a very useful logistic stress test,” underlined Col. Spreafico.

Talking of the advantages of the new fighter deployed by the Italian Air Force the TFA32 CO, he underlined the huge advantage of gathering information while delivering effects in different domains, all at the same time, as well as helping legacy assets to convey those effects in a better way. Another key element was the capacity of the jet to provide valuable and very reliable information and data along the command chain, permitting decision makers to provide the right commands to the effectors according to established Rules of Engagement, all in near real time. The F-35 showed very good interceptor characteristic, the amount of fuel carried avoiding the need of external fuel tanks. Coming to connectivity, the Italian detachment exploited considerably the Link 16 capabilities, for connecting with the CR and the CAOS, as well as the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) that allows direct links among the F-35 community. As no land assets were available for air-to-ground training, the Variable Message Format (VMF) was not used.

The Iceland operational deployment was based on a build-up approach that saw Italian Air Force Lighting II deployed in Great Britain, Greece, and other European countries for training, bringing the 32nd Wing to become fully start real operations around one year after having received its IOC status.

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2019, 11:03
by spazsinbad
While BOLD bits may be your favourite LM is investigating (still) 600 gallon drop tanks as per your ULMER FUDD post here:

viewtopic.php?f=62&t=47591&p=430471&hilit=meetings#p430471 [drop tank text not excerpted though]
"[ULMER F-35 bigwig] Extended Range: While the F-35 as configured today, exceeds the specified range performance, we’re engaged in an industry-funded study with Elbit Systems-Cyclone focused on a 600-gallon external tank and an associated jettison-able pylon for the F-35A to significantly increase range and loiter time." ... 191113.pdf

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2019, 15:17
by mixelflick
Thought I read prior where both 600 gallon (non stealth) tanks PLUS stealthy tanks (CFT's?) were being developed.

Some interesting range commentary coming to light recently about both F-22 and 35 as it were. First, we had the revelation that the F-22's range on internal fuel is comparable to an F-15C with 2 bags (as per pilot comments on TFFP). Secondly, the F-35's range as stated here exceeded spec. However you slice it, these are big improvements over legacy birds and I'm sure quite welcome developments among F-22/35 pilots.

Whether or not that frees up the tanker fleet to any meaningful degree is anyone's guess. PCA will look to extend this trend further, although it'll be interesting how much will be due to increased engine efficiency or just greater internal fuel stores. Likely some combination of both. Logically, you'd think something (maneuverability) will need to be compromised to get that better range.

But that wasn't the case with the F-35, so perhaps not..

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2019, 18:30
by zerion
Italy approves second phase of F-35 investment program: minister

ROME (Reuters) - Italy will press ahead with an investment program for F-35 fighter jets, Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini said, after uncertainty over further orders from the Rome government had raised questions on production plans.

“As the government aims to build on the investments made so far and seize the opportunities offered by the program, I’ve decide to give a green light to the phase two,” Guerini said during a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of the co-ruling 5-Star Movement, said last year that F-35 fighter jets were not a priority for the country and that the program had to be reviewed in 2019. ... SKBN1Y212S

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2019, 17:09
by mixelflick
“As the government aims to build on the investments made so far and seize the opportunities offered by the program, I’ve decide to give a green light to the phase two,”

Anyone else interpret the bold as to mean, "The unit cost is now ridiculously cheap.."? Something other??

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2019, 07:05
by doge
From Polish military magazine.
In 2019, They seem to have interviewed about Icelandic Air Policing in Italy. 8) The article says that in scramble, the Take-Off within 15 minutes from alert signal.
Within 15 minutes... It's the same time as other fighters scrambles!! :doh: (maybe) I am satisfied to know the time. :beer:
List: (As far as I can see, there are only No.13 and No.27 as long articles about F-35.)
No.27 ... zine-27/69

Air Policing Mission
NATO Air Policing is a peacetime operation, the objective of which is to protect the airspaces of the NATO Allies, reinforce the cooperation and to allow the pilots to work in an international setting. Rotational deployments in different NATO members see NATO MRCA being employed on a 24/7 QRA duty to provide protection of the airspace in countries that have no combat aircraft of their own. Iceland belongs to that group. The country does not even have an air force of its own. Because of that NATO has been holding rotational QRA duty there since 2008, to ensure airspace security. Before 2008 USAF was stationed in Iceland (Iceland Defense Forces).
The base that USAF was using was employing fighters to protect the Icelandic airspace. The unit was disbanded in 2006, with the jets returning to CONUS. This meant that Iceland would not remain in possession of fighter aircraft. Hence, NATO decided to launch the rotational Iceland Air Policing. The primary goal of Iceland presence, initially, was to carry out patrol sorties. As of 2013, alongside patrol and QRA duties, training aspect has been added. Each of the components is stationed at the Icelandic Coast Guard base in Keflavik. Usually 4-8 jets are deployed to Iceland. France, Denmark, Norway, the United States of America, Canada, Czech Republic or Italy have all taken part in the mission, over the course of 3-4 weeks long rotations.
Notably, contrary to Baltic Air Policing or Romanian Air Policing, the NATO fighters operate out of Keflavik 3 times a year, without maintaining the continuity of the presence. This is motivated by the operational requirements and diminished activity and demand for QRA duty in this area. Each of the states and each of the pilots or members of the ground crew learn to appreciate the Icelandic rotations. This allows the deployed personnel to get acquainted with an unknown terrain and unknown airspace. Furthermore, Iceland is a perfect training ground for carrying out operations in cold and severe weather conditions. Snow or strong winds are quite common in Keflavik which allows the pilots to perfect their airmanship. The whole undertaking that fuses training and air policing activities is also known as ASIC-IPPN, (Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Need).

Italian F-35s
October rotation of the Iceland Air Policing operation is unique and bears a historic meaning since it was the first time when 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft were involved in an operation as such under the auspices of NATO Allied Air Command and Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem (CAOC). The Italian F-35s involved in the Icelandic operation are usually stationed at the Amendola airbase in Italy. They belong to the 13th Fighter Squadron that is a part of the 32nd Wing. Six jets of the kind have been sent to Iceland.
The Italians appeared in Keflavik in late September to prepare the base logistically for hosting the F-35. However, all preparations had begun much earlier, as simulated scrambles had been taking place in Italy long before the deployment. Relevant role could also be ascribed to the Italian deployments in the past, during which the Eurofighter Typhoon platform was involved. After personnel selection and training 130 persons were transported to Iceland along with the aircraft, over the course of two rotations. The transport operation involved C-130J airlifters and KC762 tankers.
To be involved in Air Policing each nation and each aircraft must obtain Full Operational Capability. This is the main reason as to why the aircraft had visited Iceland beforehand. Flying began on September 27th and involved training scrambles and rapid intercepts. It also required the ground crews to work quickly, during the QRA/scramble scenarios. On October 5th the Italian F-35s achieved FOC and integration with NATO IADS and officially began Iceland Air Policing that lasted until the end of the month. QRA/ Scramble in CWC (Cold Weather Conditions) is the primary mission assigned to the Italian detachment.
The Aeronautica Militare’s assets would also ensure continuous protection of the airspace. Thirdly, the Italians would also provide SAR support, working together with boat and helicopter crews.
Air Policing flying also serves as an extension of pilot training activities, similar to those at the homebase. However, the main emphasis here is placed on different scenarios and also involves integration with the Coast Guard units and NATO IADS. Training in Iceland also brings in a major added value for the pilots who are given an opportunity to get acquainted with new airspace and environment or to work together with Icelandic ATC or E-3A AWACS supporting the operations in the air. Cold weather has a significant impact on the aircraft performance and flight profiles. This is another benefit for the airmanship development process. Iceland, despite its small area, features eight military airspace zones that are training-dedicated. Six of them are over the water and two - over the land.

Patrol and QRA Activities
QRA duty is one of the toughest and most stressful portions of work for the pilots. There are two types of scrambles: Alpha and Tango. Alpha scramble is an actual intercept, while Tango scramble is a training sortie. Anybody witnessing an Alpha Scramble would be impressed with the tempo and efficiency at which the individual steps of the procedure are taking place. As most of the flying is taking place over the water, the pilots wear the immersion suit - useful in case of ditching the aircraft or ejection over the water - it prevents hypothermia.
After the QRA signal is given, the pilots run to their planes that have been checked beforehand by the technicians. Then they go through an accelerated pre-take off checklist and take off immediately. Everyone knows their job and team effort is quite efficient here. The jets are airborne no more than 15 minutes from the alert signal. Coordination and supervision of the airspace takes place at the CAOC (Combined Air Operations Centre) in Uedem, Germany. The unit is responsible for scrambling the jets and directing the pilots towards the unidentified intruders. Uedem is where the brain of the whole operation is located, and this is where the information on air picture sent to the pilots originates from. The CAOC facility also provides the pilots with information on changes of heading or other unforeseen events. Being in the air, the pilot must find the unidentified jet, recognize it, attain a visual ID and then escort it, as it stays in the protected portion of the airspace. QRAs usually involve intercepts of the aircraft that violate the NATO airspace or that do not follow the directions of the ATC. Flights without transponder turned on or without a flight plan filed, can also be a subject to intercept. Military aircraft are not the only reason for Air Policing QRAs. Civil aircraft in COMMLOSS (Communication Loss) scenarios or in case of Renegade situation (hijacking) are also to receive fighter escort - this is a standard procedure and it’s where Iceland Air Policing Mission and F-35s work well.
The first F-35 air policing deployment was finalized in late October. However, it may be considered to be a success, as it became a start of a new chapter for NATO. Numerous capabilities that these jets have make the pilot’s lives easier also reinforcing the air patrol capabilities, making this duty safer and more modern. The experience gathered in Iceland will have a positive effect on the future operations. We can be almost certain that F-35 jets would be employed in the Air Policing role again. The author would like to thank NATO Allied Air Command for the opportunity to create coverage with regards to the Air Policing mission.

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 28 May 2020, 22:13
by spazsinbad
Italy [ITALIAN IIRC] defense minister commits to F-35 after calls to suspend program
28 May 2020 Tom Kington

"ROME – Italy’s defense minister has thrown his weight behind the F-35 program to counter demands from within his coalition government to suspend purchases of the aircraft to help Italy’s coronavirus-stricken economy. Lorenzo Guerini said he “confirmed that the program would continue,” after calls from Italy’s Five Star party to halt F-35 purchases for a year as Italy seeks cash to help rebound from the virus, which has killed 33,000 in Italy.

In an interview with Italian publication Formiche, Guerini said defense spending was often slashed during economic crises, but claimed cuts to Italy’s planned 90-aircraft buy would hurt high-tech jobs and damage an industrial sector which “offers very significant economic returns to our nation.”...

...In his interview, Guerini backed F-35 but also supported Italy’s historical alliance with the United States and NATO, which was thrown into doubt by an April poll asking Italians which countries they considered “Friends”...."

Source: ... d-program/

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 29 May 2020, 13:12
by mixelflick
Good to hear there'd be no COVID-19 related pause in acquiring additional examples. I must say though, 5th gen fighters flying Air Policing missions rubs me the wrong way. I'm sure every experience is a worthwhile experience, but IMO flight hours should be devoted more to the F-22's/35's core mission(s). I just don't see air policing as one of them.

So if every dollar counts, let that role fall to Italy's Typhoons. Arguably, its better suited to the air policing mission and it would free up Italy's growing F-35 contingent to focus more on the air to ground work it was designed for. That, and the Typhoon's CPFH looks to be much cheaper?

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 09 Jul 2020, 02:29
by jessmo112 ... -platforms

Italy says both the Euro fighter and F-35 are omnirole.
Hmmm it seems like this is more of an indictment on the Euro fighters role than the F-35s
For years people in Europe have claimed the Euro-fighter was a better a2a platform. Times have changed.
And how is the EF omni role in any way shape or form.
It cant do sead. Its barely a good cas platform.

Re: F-35 - The Italian Perspective

Unread postPosted: 09 Jul 2020, 04:20
by Corsair1963
Speaks volumes doesn't it...... :wink: