Recently, the Italian Air Force 32nd Wing, which has been contributing to the national Air Defence since March 2018, added NATO Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) with its F-35A to its duties and capabilities. The Italian Air Force 5th generation jets will operate from their home base located in Amendola (Foggia) to safeguard the airspace of the Alliance. They will coordinate to work seamlessly alongside the Typhoon EF2000 aircraft currently deployed in Romania.
We are proud to show how our experience with F35A, both in a national and international air policing framework, has been a capstone for the assignment to 32nd Wing of Italian Air Force of the NATO QRA on the southern flank of the Alliance
"We are proud to show how our experience with F35A, both in a national and international air policing framework, has been a capstone for the assignment to 32nd Wing of Italian Air Force of the NATO QRA on the southern flank of the Alliance," said the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Lieutenant General Luca Goretti. "The Italian Air Force involvement in Air Policing mission, such as recently in Iceland and in the Baltic region, provided the proper expertise to our F35A fleet, which is now operating from their home base in Amendola, to safeguard and protect the Alliance skies".
Archived photo of Italian F-35s flying over Iceland. Photo courtesy of the Italian Air Force.
Airmen and assets from the 32nd Wing are now ready to "scramble" when ordered by the NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Torrejon, Spain. The F-35 aircraft will take off in a few minutes to intercept and identify any suspicious aircraft, contributing with their specific operational capabilities and latest generation technology within a 24/7 duty service.
"Staff at CAOC Torrejon have been working closely with our Italian colleagues to ensure the procedures and communications required to integrate the F-35s into the NATO Air Policing framework are in place," said the CAOC Torrejón Commander, Lieutenant General Fernando De La Cruz. "Having 5th Generation aircraft in the Southern Air Policing area demonstrates the continual progress of Allies to ensure we are poised day and night to secure the skies."
The F-35 aircraft are assigned to the 13th Flying Squadron (32nd Wing), that has already gained considerable international experience by participating in NATO's Air Policing missions in Iceland and Estonia. Staffs have also executed the national QRA duty from their home base and the Squadron will continue to train its crews to protect national and Alliance skies.
With the addition of NATO QRA, the 5th generation F-35A aircraft from 32nd Wing join the 4th generation Typhoon EF2000 aircraft from 4th, 36th, 37th and 51st Italian Air Force Wings in guaranteeing security over the Alliance skies.