On Friday 19 November, at the Propulsion Room of the 32nd Wing in Amendola (Foggia), the training session of 10 technical specialists of the 13th Flight Group by the technical instructors of the company Pratt&Whitney, aimed at acquiring the inspection capability of the High Pressure Turbine (HPT) Forward Coverplate of the engine of the 5th Generation aircraft, was concluded.
Italy, within the Joint Strike Fighter program, is the first partner country ever to have acquired the capability to inspect the high-pressure turbine of the F135-PW100 engine installed onboard the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter-bomber.
A record of high educational value that will not only allow to increase the flight rate of the F-35 thanks to the execution of baroscopic inspections, but that will also allow to perform the specific checks at Flight Group level, favoring a cost saving at program level due to the unnecessary intervention by the “parent company”. Such a maintenance action carried out in-house, without the need for the intervention of the manufacturer, will allow to obtain an extreme flexibility in terms of support, especially in case of deployment outside national borders or foreign exercise events.
The 32nd Wing, based in Amendola (Foggia), is one of the Air Force’s Flight Departments dependent on the Air Squadron Command in Rome, through the Combat Forces Command in Milan.
The Amendola Wing was the first Department in Europe to operate with the F-35A aircraft and since March 2018 it is integrated in the National Air Defense system, contributing to the defense of the Italian skies with specific operational capabilities and state-of-the-art technology.
Following the achievement of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2018, the 32nd Wing participates, from 2019, in NATO Air Policing Operations outside national borders in Iceland and Eastern European countries, including the Baltic States.
From February 2020 the 32nd Wing is the only unit in Europe to jointly employ the conventional version F-35A (CTOL) and the short take-off and vertical landing version F-35B (STOVL) contributing, with the 5th generation aircraft, to the Expeditionary capability of the Armed Force.
Moreover, thanks to the use of the MQ1-C and MQ9-A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (APR), the 32nd Wing is able to perform Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition & Recoinnissance (I.S.T.A.R.) operations, both national and coalition.
Source and photos from Italian Air Force