The Falcon Strike international joint exercise, organized by the Italian Air Force, began on November 14 and will end on November 25. Its objective is to consolidate tactics, techniques and procedures in the field of air defense.
The military airport of Amendola, headquarters of the 32nd Stormo, is the site of the main redeployment of the activity, in which personnel and aircraft from Italy, the United States and the Netherlands take part, the destroyer “Caio Duilio” of the Navy, and assets SBAD (Surface Based Air Defense), leading the 121st “Ravenna” Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment of the Italian Army.
The Air Force participates with numerous aerotactic assets – in particular 5th generation F35A and B aircraft – reconnaissance aircraft, transport and in-flight refueling aircraft and helicopters. A Navy Air Force F35B is also involved. Over a thousand soldiers involved, of which 600 in Amendola, and more than 50 aircraft participating.
The activity is particularly focused on the joint training of pilots and specialists operating on 5th generation F-35 fighters from the three participating countries, in order to consolidate tactics, techniques and operational procedures in the field of air defense and improve cooperation and standardization at the multinational level.
The exercise, unique of its kind, involves a total of six Air Force bases. The aircraft pilots, who operate over a large part of the national territory within dedicated training areas, are training in a realistic way, also thanks to the use of sophisticated threat simulation technologies, to face complex and highly defended assets, also exploiting the low observability capabilities of the 5th generation assets. The European Command of the United States Air Force (USAFE – United States Air Force in Europe) participates with F16 and F35A assets, while the Air Force of the Netherlands ( RNLAF – Royal Netherlands Air Force) is present with F35A aircraft.
During the Falcon Strike, the F-35 Air Chiefs Meeting will be hosted in Amendola – for the first time in Italy – a USAFE-led forum for discussion and updating at a strategic level between the heads of the air forces that use the 5th generation aircraft .
The forum – generally held at the USAFE headquarters in Ramstein (Germany) – was created to consolidate collaboration within the F-35 European User’s Group.
This event offers the opportunity to further consolidate the position of Italy, the Defense and the Air Force within the F-35 community, also exploiting the specific potential of the national infrastructures assigned to operational training.