USS Harry S. Truman aircraft train with Italian F-35s

An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the "Knighthawks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136 launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), May 28, 2018. Photo: US Navy

US Navy pilots from Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1), embarked aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), are training with the Italian Air Force in integrated flight operations taking place from May 28 to June 7.

The exercise features F/A-18s from CVW-1’s four fighter squadrons, which integrated with Italian F-35 Lightning II aircraft, Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, and KC-767 tankers.

They also were joined by F-16 Falcons and KC-135 tanker aircraft from US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) based at Aviano Air base.

“Italy is a key partner in ensuring security and stability in the region, and this opportunity to integrate with the Italian Air Force helps us both to refine tactics and increase our interoperability as we work toward mutual goals,” said Rear Adm. Gene Black, commander, Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. “We’re stronger when we can fight together, and this is a great chance for us to use intensive training to enhance our partnership.”

Throughout the duration of the exercise flight operations are being conducted over Italy, to include over the Amendola Training Range and the Calabria Training Range, and over the Adriatic Sea.

“This exercise is significant as it is the first time a Carrier Air Wing has operated consistently in the Adriatic Sea since the mid-1990s,” Lt. Derek Johnson, CVW-1 assistant operations officer. “CVW-1 and Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG-8) are opening doors for future exercises and further integration with Italian forces on future deployments.”

Johnson said this has been a positive experience for CVW-1 as it has furthered “relationship building and increased understanding of how the Italian Air Force (ITAF) operates, as well as tactical proficiency training for our [Strike Fighter Squadron] VFA aircrew.”

Truman is operating in the US 6th Fleet area of operations after getting underway from its Naval Station Norfolk homeport on April 11 for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and Middle East.

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