05 Jul 2019

F-35 Lightning aircraft deploy to Italy for training exercise

F-35 Lightning aircraft have travelled to Italy for a bilateral training exercise with the Italian Air Force.

The F-35 lightning aircraft have deployed to an Italian air base in Amendola with Aeronautica Militare. The exercise follows Lighting Dawn in Cyprus and will feature a collaboration with 32 Stormo of the Italian air force, which also operates F-35s.

Both the UK and Italy also operate Typhoon aircraft and regularly collaborate on NATO missions. The exercise will allow 617 Squadron to practice working and operating from an allied airbase.

Officer Commanding 617 Squadron Wing Commander John Butcher said: “It has been an absolute privilege to operate alongside the Italian Air Force, a key NATO ally and European friend who also operate Lightning. The mission we flew together today was very successful and proves again the interoperability between nations flying F-35.”

Colonel Davide Marzinotto, Commander of 32 Stormo, said: “I am delighted to welcome 617 Squadron of the RAF to Amendola. This is an excellent opportunity for us to train together as partners and as NATO allies.”

The UK and Italy were the first European forces to use the F-35 aircraft. The 207 Squadron will become the Operational Conversion Centre for RAF Pilots and Royal Navy Pilots later this year.

The Italian Air force and RAF have recently collaborated on air policing missions in the Baltic, Iceland, and Romania. The two air forces regularly work together on joint missions in Europe and internationally.12

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