Category Archives: Italian Air Force

Eurofighters invade Sardinia: 40 Austrian, German and Italian Typhoons at Decimomannu

More than 40 Typhoons belonging to three European Air Forces have deployed to Decimomannu airbase in the last few weeks to take advantage of the local ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Installation) ranges.

Since mid June, more than 40 Eurofighter Typhoons belonging to the German, Italian and Austrian Air Force have deployed to Decimomannu airbase, in Italy, to undertake training activities in the large training ranges surrounding Sardinia island.

Typhoon take off

Decimomannu is the home of the AWTI (Air Weapons Training Installation) established 55 years ago by the NATO partnership of Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Canada. The AWTI exploits an ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation) range where air-to-air missions and DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) are remotely monitored and recorded, and an air-to-ground bombing range at Capo Frasca, where pilots can train dropping both dumb and smart weaponry.

GAF Typhoon take off

Currently, the base is mainly used by the aircraft belonging to the Italian and German Air Force but it often hosts aircraft of other air forces involved in training campaigns and multinational exercises.

Two seat Typhoon take off

From Jun. 12 to 26 the Luftwaffe deployed 23 Typhoons (including four two-seaters) from Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 73 “Steinhoff” from Laage. Some 8 Typhoons are still operating from “Deci.”

GAF Typhoon landing

Along with the GAF Typhoons, BAE and GFD deployed two A-4 Skyhawks (N431FS white and N262WL camo) and two Learjets (Learjet 31A and Learjet 35A) to support the firing training of the Eurofighters.

Typhoon two seat close up

Flying with the AACMI (Autonomous ACMI) pods, the Germans have conducted Combat Air Patrol, air interception and aerial combat training, operating also with the Italian Typhoons.

Typhoon lineup

From Jun. 12 to Jul. 3, Italian Air Force has deployed 13 Typhoons belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wing) – the units of the Aeronautica Militare equipped with the European fighter jet – to undertake air-to-air combat training.

This was not the first time the Italian Air Force simultaneously deployed all its currently equipped squadrons to Deci: last year the 9° Gruppo (Squadron) and 20° OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) of the 4° Stormo at Grosseto, the 10° and 12° Gruppo of the 36° Stormo at Gioia del Colle and the 18° Gruppo of the 37° Stormo at Trapani took advantage of the ACMI range to improve their skills in the air defense field.

ItAF Typhoon lined up for take off

Five Austrian Typhoons are currently based at Deci. The aircraft, belonging to the Austrian Air Surveillance Wing from Zeltweg, have arrived on Jul. 9.

Austrian Typhoon

The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Caglieri has visited the airbase several times during the last few weeks, taking all the photographs you can find in this post.

Austrian Typhoons landing

All images by Alessandro Caglieri

 

 

[Photo] Eurofighter Typhoon with stuck nose landing gear after take off

An Italian Eurofighter Typhoon facing a nose landing gear problem solved by re-cycling it. Pretty routine.

What if the plane has trouble getting the landing gear to retract? The simplest thing to do is re-cycle it, that is to say, try to drop it back down before attempting to put it back up. It’s a pretty common procedure in aviation.

This is what the pilot of the Italian Eurofighter Typhoon taking off from Pratica di Mare airbase for the rehearsals of Roma International Air Show did on Jun. 28, as soon as he realized the nose landing gear failed to retract: he re-cycled the gear, successfully retracted it and performed the display practice as planned.

Image credit: Giovanni Maduli

 

Boeing KC-767 next generation tanker as you have never seen it before: Buddy Refueling

We have taken part to a mission aboard Italy’s Boeing KC-767A to refuel another KC-767A tanker.

The Italian Air Force operates a fleet of four Boeing KC-767 advanced aerial refuelers.

The tankers are assigned to the 14° Stormo (Wing) based at Pratica di Mare airbase, near Rome, whose 8° Gruppo (Squadron) flies the aircraft for AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling), strategic trasportation and MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) missions.

The first KC-767 was delivered to the Italian Air Force on Jan. 27, 2011 and had its “baptism of fire” few months later, during the Air War in Libya, when the new tanker conducted air-to-air refueling missions of Italian planes involved in Operation Unified Protector.

Kc767_Buddy_4

Since then, the fleet has achieved a lot of experience with Italian and allied assets, supporting the deployment of British Eurofighters to LIMA 13 airshow, conducting collective aerial refueling certification and testing with Gripen and Rafale fighter jets and, more recently, escorting the Spanish EF-18 and Eurofighter Typhoons to Konya, in Turkey, for Anatolian Eagle 2014-2.

Kc767_Buddy_6

The aircraft, is equipped with both the sixth generation flying boom (based on the one of the American KC-10), and three hose and drogue stations that give the KC-767 the ability to refuel aircraft equipped with onboard receptacle or those with a refueling probe.

Kc767_Buddy_10

In the KC-46 variant, the next generation tanker is going to replace the U.S. fleet of KC-135E Stratotanker refuelers but, whilst in the KC-135 the “boomer” (as the operator is nicknamed) is prone and moves the flying boom in the receptacle watching the receiver through a rear observation window, in the KC-767 the operators move the boom using a joystick and watching the video from a series of cameras mounted on the tanker’s rear fuselage.

Kc767_Buddy_11

Kc767_Buddy_13

The advanced camera system feeds a Remote Vision System (RVS) that provides high-definition stereoscopic imagery to the vision goggles attached to a sort-of flight helmet worn by the boomer during the air-to-air refueling.

Kc767_Buddy_1

The aircrews of the 8° Gruppo are also capable of “buddy refueling operations”: a KC-767 can refuel another KC-767 mid-air using the flying boom and the aircraft’s receptacle, further extending the aircraft endurance.

Kc767_Buddy_16

With the help of the Italian Air Force Press Office and the 14° Stormo, we have had the opportunity to take part in one of the “buddy refueling” missions flown by the 8° Gruppo for training purposes.

Kc767_Buddy_12

All the images in this post were taken by The Aviationist’s photographer Giovanni Maduli on board KC-767 “A600″ on Jul. 2, 2014.

Kc767_Buddy_14

Kc767_Buddy_15

The Author wishes to thank Capt. Stefano Testa of the ItAF Press Office and Lt. Col. Massimiliano Colasi of the 14° Stormo for the help provided before, during and after the flight.

 

First AgustaWestland HH-101A “Caesar” for the Italian Air Force makes first flight

The first AW101 for the Italian Air Force, designated the HH-101A “CAESAR”, made its maiden flight at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the UK

The new helicopter, in an interesting black color scheme, made its first flight at the presence of the Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Pasquale Preziosa and other representatives and dignitaries from military services and public authorities.

The HH-101A will be the backbone of the Italian Air Force’s rotary wing fleet that was already modernized with the HH-139 for Search and Rescue.

The first two examples of the HH-101A will be delivered in Q4/2014 in Personnel Recovery and Special Forces missions configuration.

Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Pasquale Preziosa said “The HH-101A will respond to the Italian Air Force’s needs for Personnel Recovery and Special Forces Operations. It will also support SAR, MEDEVAC and Slow Mover Intercept operations which are extremely important to provide effective support to the Italian community.”

The HH-101A will be able to host a combination of up to five crew members plus twenty fully equipped troops or six crew members plus 8 troops for special operations ensuring maximum flexibility. The helicopters will also feature three M134 7.62 mm pintle mounted Gatling-type machine guns installed on right and left sides and on the rear ramp, armoured cockpit seats, ballistic protection for machine gun operators as well as for critical systems and an Integrated Electronic Warfare System providing self-protection against radar, laser and infrared threats. The HH-101A will also feature an air-to-air refuelling kit for extended range operations.

HH-101A

Image credit: AgustaWestland

 

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These images will bring you aboard a rescue chopper during a SAR training mission at sea

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.

AB212 2

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.

AB212 3

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.

Launch:

Recovery:

Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis and Alessandro Caglieri

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