Italian AF F-35B Official Debut in Exped Proof Concept Ex

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Unread post31 Jul 2020, 20:45

Italian Air Force F-35B Makes Official Debut During Expeditionary Proof of Concept Exercise
31 Jul 2020 David Cenciotti

"...On Jul. 30, 2020, the Italian Air Force presented its capability to use short runways and project power on very short notice from forward operating locations as part of an “Expeditionary” PoC (Proof of Concept) held at Pantelleria, the tiny island located in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, some 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Sicily and 60 km (37 mi) east of the Tunisian coast.

The exercise saw the participation of the first F-35B STOVL aircraft of the Italian Air Force, the airframe serialled MM7453/32-14: the goal of the PoC was to deploy an F-35B aircraft to the Pantelleria airport with accompanying operational/technical-logistical support, in order to demonstrate the ability of the air force to project and use the 5th generation aircraft far from home, in a semi-permissive environment, on an austere/bare runway normally not usable by other conventional aircraft and with limited Force Protection provided by the host nation....

...As part of the PoC, after performing a short landing, the F-35B was refueled on the ground directly from the KC-130J tanker aircraft using the Air Landed Aircraft Refuelling Point (a special system providing simultaneous refueling on of up to 4 aircraft by pumping fuel from the KC-130’s tanks) and was armed in a very short time before taking off again...

...[ Lt. Gen. Rosso, Italian Air Force Chief of Staff] "The ability to operate from shorter runways can allow the selection of a closer airbase and solve the problem. In terms of flexibility, just think that in Africa there are about 100 runways that have a length between 2,800 and 3,000 meters but there are 20 times as many runways between 1,000 and 1,500 meters in length. Being able to use short runways allows you to multiply your ability to deploy where needed, in a more convenient and faster way, especially closer to the area of operation. Having an aircraft that is capable of taking off from shorter runways allows incredible flexibility even in those scenarios that are currently only barely conceivable. In case of conflict, aircraft that are able to operate from shorter runways can also be dispersed to increase their survivability. This flexibility to operate from bare/austere runways or even highways makes the air power more unpredictable and represents a fundamental capability in any scenario. For this reason, after carefully studying all the scenarios and costs, the Italian Air Force has identified, as done by other air arms, a mixed fleet of F-35A and B aircraft, as the most economically convenient and effective configuration.”

When asked about the possible creation of a joint management of the F-35B fleet between the Italian Air Force and Navy, Rosso said: “This is one of the things we are discussing. I believe that a joint capability is important regardless of the machine and the systems you use. I think nobody can afford to work alone, but we have to do teamwork, because we are a single defense tool at the service of the country. Beyond what may be some controversies, as reported in the newspapers, I think there is the awareness and desire to make each one’s own competence and skills available to the country in a synergistic way. It is clear that the F-35B is an aircraft that has great flexibility and is capable of solving a series of problems or addressing a series of needs of both the Navy and, in my opinion even more, the Air Force. Being able to put together the skills and experiences that the individual Armed Forces are able to make available, respecting the tasks of each, I think is something the whole country will benefit of....

Reference: ... py-at-all/

Photo: "The ItAF F-35B was refueled by the KC-130J both in the air and on the ground." ... LLA-08.jpg

Source: ... -exercise/
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