The Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Lieutenant General Pasqual Preziosa, landed in Israel as part of close cooperation between the air forces of both countries. During Lieutenant General Preziosa’s visit, in which he was the personal guest of Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Major General Amir Eshel, he toured some of the IAF’s airbases and was impressed by its capabilities.
At five o’clock in the afternoon, when the sun was setting above the sea, an F-16 flying in the area was in the middle of an air-to-air maneuver. In the cockpit was sitting an aerial team that was different from usual: the head testing pilot of the Center for Flight Experiments Squadron together with the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Lieutenant General Pasqual Preziosa who landed in Israel on Sunday. “The flight over Israeli territory was wonderful”, said Lieutenant General Preziosa after landing. “I had the opportunity to see your country from a really high altitude. I saw the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, as well as the border with Lebanon and Jordan. Israel is a very small country. A flight from the sea to the border can take less than three minutes. Everything is close by here, so that if there is any sort of threat to the state, the IAF has to be ready on short notice and prepare a quick response. I am impressed by the ability of the Israeli Air Force to respond quickly and effectively to any threat.”
During his visit in Israel, the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force visited different IAF airbases and was impressed by the power of the Israeli Air Force. Yesterday, he started his day at the Hatzor airbase where he looked at mission training simulators, and afterwards he arrived at the Tel Nof airbase, where he was impressed by the capabilities of the “Eitan” UAV and got an up-close look at the work being done at the Center for Flight Experiments Squadron. The Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force came as a personal guest of his Israeli counterpart, Major General Amir Eshel. “I have known the Commander of the IAF for years. We had many opportunities to train together, even when I commanded other posts, which allowed us to meet and deepen our relationship.”
All Roads Lead to the Skies of Rome
The warm ties between both air forces have lasted for many years and have yielded much cooperation. For example, a few months ago, the Italian Air Force held a training session in the skies above Israel, as they flew with Israeli squadrons at the Ovda airbase. Additionally, the IAF’s new training plane, made by the Italian company “Alenia Aermacchi”, will land in Israel in 2014 and will be the basis of flight training for the next generation in the IAF. “The two forces can train together”, the Italian Chief of Staff stressed. “We come from different environments, and fly on different platforms; which is something that can serve each of air forces. In the past, the two forces training with each other in Sardinia and soon Italian aircrafts will land in Ovda for the “Blue Flag” training session. Also, with respect to flight platforms, there is also cooperation.”
The full interview will be published in the December edition of IAF Magazine