Two Dutch Joint Strike Fighter jets (Picture: Defense) - Credit: Two Dutch Joint Strike Fighter jets (Picture: Defense)
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 16:27
Dutch Air Force set to train fighter pilots in Italy
The Dutch Air Force has made a deal with its Italian counterpart to send F-16 pilots, and likely also F-35 pilots to train on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 jet trainer with Italian crews. Both parties signed an agreement in which the Dutch Air Force will kick off the cooperation, sending one instructor and two student pilots to train on the M-346 in Italy's Lecce Galatina Air Base near the southern Italian city of Lecce. The pilots arriving to the air base are expected to be future F-35 pilots, and they would possibly be followed by other pilots as well, according to a spokesperson from the Italian Air Force. After signing to buy three more M-346 aircrafts in last December, the total amount of the fighter trainers in the Italian Air Force climbed up to nine, and the country is planning on buying fifteen M-346s altogether. Italian military designation for the M-346 is T-346A. Also Singapore, Poland and Israel are known to purchase the same aircraft in various amounts.