Last month, Sardinia Island, Italy, was hit by a tornado, dubbed “Cleopatra” that cost the life of 16 people including 4 children.
Aircraft, helicopters and personnel belonging to all the Italian Armed Forces and Corps joined the relief efforts throughout the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Among the units called to support the rescue operations there was also the 670^ Squadriglia, based at Decimomannu airbase, with its AB-212 helicopter.
The 670^ Squadriglia is tasked with Search And Rescue and its crews daily train to undertake these missions in the mountains or (considered the location of the base on an island), more frequently, at sea.
In Summer 2013, The Aviationist was invited to take part in a training mission in the Gulf of Cagliari. Alessandro Caglieri and Gian Luca Onnis boarded the AB.212 helicopter and shot the images and footage of the helicopter winching ops.
Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis and Alessandro Caglieri
On Sept. 24, 2013, the Italian Minister of Defense announced that the Frecce Tricolori, Italian Air Force’s aerobatic display team will replace their MB.339s with the Alenia Aermacchi M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer).
Even if the new basic-advanced trainer will be inducted into active service between 2017 and 2010, Finmeccanica has already unveiled what the traditional livery of the Frecce Tricolori on the M-345 HET could look like.
Image credit: Finmeccanica
As explained on a previous post, on Jun. 11 (a day after it was originally planned), Italian Eurofighter with 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wings) deployed to Keflavik Airbase, Iceland to provide a NATO air defense capability to the Northern European country that does not operate autonomous airspace surveillance aircraft.
“Operation Icy Skies” includes maintenance and support personnel as well as air defence controllers from GRCDA (Air Surveillance Squadron), 21st and 22nd Radar Squadron, respectively, based in Poggio Renatico (Ferrara), Poggio Ballone (Grosseto) e Licola (Naples), that provide reporting and control services and airspace surveillance services within the Iceland AOR (area of responsability).
The Italian involvement in Iceland’s air defense is a clear example of the new NATO strategic concept that encourages asset and cost sharing, as well as capability pooling.
Two KC-767A aerial tankers (MM62227 and MM62228) ferried the Italian Typhoons to Iceland on 11 June, in two flights; both departed the following day.
The following images were taken by Eggert Norðdahl at Keflavik, as the Typhoons (F-2000A according to the Italian Mission Design Series) performed the first orientation and dedicated training sorties required for the subsequent NATO validation of the Italian Air Force assets.
Image credit: Eggert Norðdahl
On Jun. 10, six Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets of the Italian Air Force deployed to Iceland to provide air policing of the airspace around the northern European island.
Supported by two KC-767A aerial refuelers and a C-130J cargo plane, the Italian jets will provide QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties for the NATO from Keflavik airbase.
About 150 military deployed to Iceland within Operation Icelandic Air Policing 2013.
Image credit: The Aviationist/Alessandro Fucito
The Italian Air Force, that already provides air policing of Slovenia and Albania airspaces, will take over the control of the airspace in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in January-April 2015.
Even if the news has not been advertised too much, the Italian Air Force has been operating the Lockheed Martin’s Airborne Multi-Intelligence Laboratory (AML) since 2012.
Known as “Dragon Star”, the Airborne Multi-Intelligence Laboratory (AML) is a specially configured Gulfstream III (registered N30LX) transformed into a flying test bed with a wide array of sensors forseen by a configuration developed by LM for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) persistent operations.
Since it was deployed to Pratica di Mare, the aircraft has been used by the Italian Air Force in a live operational environment. Lockheed Martin signed a use agreement with the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide the AML plane along with three ground intelligence processing systems as well as flight crew and maintenance personnel for the plane.
According to the press release issued in Jan. 2012, the initial agreement was for one year, with an option to extend to two years: since the aircraft has taken part to the recent Star Vega 2013, the option was confirmed, at least for the first year.
The experimental ISR platform (offered as an “ISR as a Service” concept”) is actually an open architecture that gives the customer (currently the ItAF) the opportunity to configure C4ISR components (software and hardware) in a matter of hours, to integrate it with other national or coalition systems.
The use of the ISR service has given Italy the possibility to retire its G-222VS SIGINT plane while keeping an effective (niche) intelligence capability alive with the Air Force.
Image credit: The Aviationist/ Caglieri – Maduli