More
    HomeMilitaryItalian F-35s Showcase Stealth Power in Alaskan Skies During Red Flag Exercise

    Italian F-35s Showcase Stealth Power in Alaskan Skies During Red Flag Exercise

    Published on

    spot_img
    CGI: A F-35 Lightning II Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    In a remarkable display of airpower and tactical prowess, the Italian Air Force’s F-35s took to the skies over Alaska in “full stealth mode,” showcasing their cutting-edge capabilities in the Red Flag Alaska 24-1 exercise from April 18 to May 3, 2024.

    F-35 Lightning Drops a Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb” by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    For the first time, at least publicly, the Italian F-35s discarded radar reflectors, unleashing their low observable features across the vast Joint Pacific Range Complex.

    An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the “Fighting Checkmates” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211, flies alongside an Italian marine F-35 Lightning II and an AV-8B II+ Harrier in support of NATO-led activity Neptune Shield 22.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This significant move away from radar cross-section enhancers during peacetime operations signals a new era for the Italian F-35s. Col. Vito Cracas, Commander of the Eielson Autonomous Flight Unit, underscored the importance of realistic training scenarios, asserting, “train as you fight, and fight as you train”.

    Italian Air Force F-35” by usembvienna is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

    He further highlighted how the exercise fostered a sharing of tactics and lessons learned, essential for maximizing the assets’ strengths in Anti Access Area Denial (A2AD) situations.

    F-35A Italy” by Rob Schleiffert is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Italian aircrew were given the opportunity to train in an “almost unrestricted airspace” featuring both simulated and real threats.

    190604-F-BG094-0547” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    This resulted in a rigorous validation of weapons capabilities and tactics, with the Italian contingent integrating seamlessly with U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps assets. Over 260 sorties and 600 flight hours were logged, a testament to the intensive and cooperative nature of the training.

    F-35A Italy” by Rob Schleiffert is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Further enhancing the multinational dimension of their participation, the Italian crews also engaged in artic survival training with the 353rd Combat Training Squadron, simulating ejection over hostile territory and subsequent Combat Search & Rescue efforts.

    Oshkosh, Wisconsin USA - July 30th, 2022: USA Military Aircraft Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin USA – July 30th, 2022: USA Military Aircraft Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

    Italy’s autonomous flight unit at Eielson A.F.B. introduced a mixed fleet including Typhoons, F-35s, a KC-767, and an E-550 CAEW, all making their debut in Alaska. This diverse array enabled coverage of a wide array of airpower capabilities.

    Kleine Brogel, Belgium - SEP 8 2018: Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet from the Italian Airforce at Belgium airforce base Kleine-Brogel.
    Kleine Brogel, Belgium – SEP 8 2018: Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet from the Italian Airforce at Belgium airforce base Kleine-Brogel.

    The Typhoons honed their swing role, the F-35s their omnirole capabilities, while the KC-767 and E-550 CAEW performed their refueling and Airborne Early Warning and Battle Management and Command and Control functions, respectively.

    Lockheed Martin F-35  of Italian Air Force during the Linate Air Show 2019.
    Lockheed Martin F-35 of Italian Air Force during the Linate Air Show 2019.

    The exercise also saw the E550A CAEW assume the role of Mission Commander during a Red Flag Alaska mission on April 26. This significant responsibility involved planning and conduct of the entire flight mission, signifying the international appreciation for the ItAF’s professional capabilities.

    Flight prep” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Red Flag Alaska 24-1 utilized the expansive Joint Pacific-Alaska Range Complex, allowing participants to execute their weapon systems with minimal restrictions over a 67,000 square-mile area. As put by U.S Air Force Lt. Col. Lloyd Wright, this advanced training aims to simulate combat in a realistic fashion, involving complex scenarios that require integration, planning, and strategic thinking.

    An F-35 Lightning II completes a flyover of USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000).” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The scale of the operations far exceeded what is possible in regular training environments, with aircrews experiencing massive mock battles that could include up to 28 aircraft against 20 adversaries.

    Goodbye Edwards, (Lockheed Martin F-35 ‘Lightning II’ ‘Joint Strike Fighter’s’ depart), hello Nellis.” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Italy’s singular presence with aircraft, along with the Netherlands’ contribution of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, was crucial in the coalition exercise. Other participating units from the U.S. military brought specialized capabilities in multirole missions, ground attack, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, and air refueling.

    Australia F-35s leave in historic launch” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    This large force exercise is a pivotal component of contemporary military training, allowing aircrews to learn and adapt within an alliance framework, preparing for any future contingencies.

    F-35 Lightning II” by blueforce4116 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The emphasis on interoperability not only bolsters individual nation’s defense postures but also enhances collective security in a world of evolving threats and intricate geopolitical landscapes.

    Relevant articles:
    Italian Air Force F-35s Flew In Full “Stealth Mode” During Red Flag Alaska 24-1, The Aviationist
    Red Flag 24-2: Advancing F-35 interoperability at Nellis, af.mil
    The Orbital Mechanics Podcast, The Orbital Mechanics Podcast

    Latest articles

    FN Five-seveN MRD: A New Era in Precision Handguns

    The FN Five-seveN has stood out in the modern firearms landscape for years, known...

    Raytheon’s Breakthrough: Achieving Milestones in the HALO Program

    The United States Navy is enhancing its offensive prowess and strategic vision by developing...

    Significance of Reagan Test Site in US Hypersonic Weapon Testing

    The US Air Force has garnered attention with the successful trial of a prototype...

    The B-21 Raider of the U.S. Air Force Prepares for Deployment Despite Production Hurdles and Hypersonic Competition

    The B-21 Raider, the United States Air Force's new stealth bomber, is edging closer...

    More like this

    FN Five-seveN MRD: A New Era in Precision Handguns

    The FN Five-seveN has stood out in the modern firearms landscape for years, known...

    Raytheon’s Breakthrough: Achieving Milestones in the HALO Program

    The United States Navy is enhancing its offensive prowess and strategic vision by developing...

    Significance of Reagan Test Site in US Hypersonic Weapon Testing

    The US Air Force has garnered attention with the successful trial of a prototype...