The International Flight Training School (IFTS) operated by the Italian air force and Leonardo will open a second branch at Decimomannu air force base, on the island of Sardinia.

Following the announcement of the IFTS at the 2018 Farnborough air show, the existing base of Galatina has added three Leonardo T-346 advanced jet trainers, and its first batch of civil instructor pilots have completed training.

The Decimomannu news was announced by Leonardo and the Italian air force at the company's pavilion.

The IFTS will offer the first courses to Italian air force cadets by the end of 2019. Near term work at the existing Galantina facility includes deploying four more T-346s, training six additional instructors and having them qualified by the air force, and adding further courses from the second half of 2019.

The first single-engined T-345 will arrive in Galatina next year, to aid with basic training efforts.

When Decimomannu comes on line in 2021, the school’s T-346s will be transferred there, helping to establish the school as a centre of advanced training excellence. A new flight line and maintenance hangars will be added to the base, as well as other ground-based infrastructure. Ultimately, the IFTS foresees 22 T-346 based there, with more than 40 civilian and military instructor pilots.

Besides good weather, Decimomannu has several attributes that make it suitable for the school’s expansion, including a dual runway system to support higher training volumes, dedicated airspace for training, the opportunity to merge with international exercises and ranges for live air-to-air and air-to-ground training.

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Update: The story has been updated to reflect the accurate location of the Decimomannu base.