Advertising
  • News
  • Defence
  • Manufacturers & Airframes
  • Italian air force struggles to prove air power relevance

Italian air force struggles to prove air power relevance

Italy’s air force is “taken for granted” by the general public, politicians and the nation’s other armed services, according to a leading academic.

“There are no new visions of air power,” Gregory Alegi, who works for the Accademia Aeronautica – or air force academy – told a Royal Aeronautical Society conference in London.

“It is difficult to make surface forces realise that they have some of their freedom because of the air [operations],” he says.

And despite notable recent milestones – including it performing the first transatlantic crossing with the Lockheed Martin F-35 – the air force is still perceived less favourably than its sister services.

That flight was also made against the backdrop of wider doubts, he says: “There was scepticism [about] letting the Italians go first, but it worked out well.”

Asset Image

Lockheed Martin

Rome is exploring the wider use of its air assets outside conflicts, and is trying to expand the F-35’s role into new areas, such as data collection, Alegi says.

“What if we can find a use for air power during peacetime? We’re thinking about how to do that.”

“Air power is not seen as the way of approaching a problem, other than during humanitarian crises.”

Growing the number of roles performed by the Joint Strike Fighter is vital, he says, not least as a future replacement for the Eurofighter Typhoons currently operated by the service.

“We need to make the most of this [the F-35],” he says. “When you point out that the Typhoon is more expensive than the F-35, it doesn’t really resonate, because air policing is a good use of them.”

Related Content
Advertising

Advertising