The 36th Fighter Wing of the Italian Air Force located in Gioia del Colle, hosted exercise Gioia Falcon, an international live-fly training exercise with the Royal Netherlands Air Force on November 12 to 26. The exercise involved a variety of aircraft including Eurofighters, F-35s and HH139 helicopters from the Italian Air Force and F-16s from the Royal Netherlands Air Force. NATO’s Deployable Air Command and Control Centre based at Poggio Renatico, Italy carried out the exercise’s command and control. The Italian G550 CAEW and NATO E-3A airborne early warning aircraft supported exercise participants providing enhanced situational awareness to crews and commanders.
“Exercise Gioia Falcon provided great results. It demonstrated perfect synergy between flight crews and maintenance teams, allowing integration and interoperability among different generation of aircraft and between the air and surface components. It has been a great opportunity to exchange operational experience among NATO pilots and operationally assess the great swing role capability of the Eurofighter in an integrated scenario,” said Colonel Antonio Vergallo, Commander of the 36th fighter wing.
Exercise Gioia Falcon consisted of multi-domain training flights including close air support and defensive counter air missions. The exercise consolidated interoperability among the participating aircraft enhancing effectiveness and efficiency in use of common procedures. The activity was useful to standardise tactics, techniques and procedures adopted in a multinational and complex scenario across a variety of mission sets, including Close Air Support and Defensive Counter Air. It also allowed the Royal Netherlands Air Force to practice their redeployment and bed down capabilities in an Allied country, whilst testing Italy’s logistic capacity to support a foreign flying squadron.
The result obtained underlined the importance of a continuous dialogue with the NATO countries increasingly integrated with the fifth generation. The training offered the opportunity to consolidate interoperability between the crews of Aircraft involved in operational activities, or to standardize the procedures and techniques adopted in complex scenarios and missions of various types – including Close Air Support jointly with the Fusiliers of the Air, Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC), Defensive Counter Air and Air Interdiction, aimed at perfecting the synergy between the flight crews and the latest generation aircraft to ensure perfect integration and synchronization of the air component with that of the surface.