Technology cast into reality: IFTS, the school for top guns that blends real and virtual

03 October 2022

Inside the pilot training center born from a partnership between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo:'s article on the center of excellence that employs the most advanced digital simulation techniques

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The International Flight Training School is the result of a partnership between the Italian Air Force, with all the skills it has built in military pilots training, and Leonardo, the country’s leading aerospace and defence enterprise that offers the latest new digital simulation techniques for training pilots who will one day fly new-generation fighter aircraft in the most complex operational scenarios.

From classroom lessons to simulation rooms and actual flights, we follow the typical day of a student pilot dealing with increasingly difficult scenarios and learning to be one of the top guns of the future. The learning process combines training aircraft such as the M-346, equipped with the world’s most advanced technologies incorporating increasingly realistic simulation systems, blending the real and the virtual in a single operational scenario.

This journey of discovery into this highly advanced pilot training facility is only the first in a series of five multimedia articles published on the website exploring “The Leonardo Universe” within the company that has developed the country’s most advanced Aerospace, Defence and Security technologies. A chance to learn about how Leonardo’s innovation serves the community, with tangible impacts on the lives of citizens and our nationwide security, playing a crucial role in the country’s socioeconomic fabric.

The second article in the series will look at the work of Leonardo’s Global Security Operation Centre, where analysts and cybersecurity technicians work to protect key Italian and international infrastructures against cyberattack, guarding the security of the digital ecosystems in our institutions, enterprises and public services.

The air-sea activities of the Guardia di Finanza (Italy’s financial police force) will be the subject of the third article in the series. On board helicopters designed by Leonardo to operate under any conditions, equipped with hi-tech systems managing all kinds of surveillance equipment - including the ATOS avionic system - officers patrol vast expanses of land and sea to fight crime and preserve public order.

The focus will then shift to digital training of emergency workers for helicopter rescue missions in all kinds of scenarios and weather conditions. Rescue workers are trained to deal with all types of emergency using simulators specifically designed by Leonardo to reproduce a variety of scenarios, such as, for example, the MITHOS system, developed by the Leonardo Helicopters’ Training Academy.

The series will close with an article on the “digital army” of the future. Leonardo’s Command and Control systems enable the progressive integration of information from all units engaged on the ground at a single centre of operations: from individual soldiers to radar stations and satellites, as well as air, sea, land and underwater platforms. These systems provide the Armed Forces with the information superiority needed for prompt action and the maximum security.