Tag Archives: Decimomannu

M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer with IRIS-T air-to-air missile

M-346 Master is flying with the AIM-9 replacement: the IRIS-T missile.

Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master advanced jet trainer has started testing a new weapon at Decimomannu airbase: the IRIS-T (Infra Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled) missile.

Developed within a German-led multinational program as a short-range air-to-air missile to replace the ageing AIM-9 Sidewinder the IRIS-T has a range of 25 km and can engage targets flying behind the launching platform thanks to an extreme close-in agility which allows turns of 60 g at a rate of 60°/s.

IRIS-T is a missile already integrated on the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Interestingly, as the top image (taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Giovanni Maduli) shows, the dummy IRIS-T missile was carried on an underwing pylon while previous tests with the AIM-9L Sidewinder were carried out with the air-to-air missiles mounted on the wing tip launchers.

The M-346 has been selected by the Italian Air Force, the Polish Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Israeli Air Force that will use the “Master” to replace the A-4 Skyhawks.

Image credit: Giovanni Maduli

 

[Photo] M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer flies with three fuel tanks

The M-346 “Master” Advanced Combat Trainer is getting a new type of fuel tank.

Taken at Decimomannu airbase by The Aviationist’s contributor Gian Luca Onnis, the above picture shows an M-346 “Master” advanced combat trainer carrying three 630l (450kg) external fuel tanks

Interestingly, the shape of the fuel tanks is different from that of the drop tanks initially carried by the Master prototypes (as those shown in the image below) which resembled th 500l (380kg) type carried on outer wing pylons by Italian Air Force AMX light fighter bombers.

Previous tanks

Although the new type of tank was showcased as part of the external loads of the M-346 at international air shows in the past, the plane was rarely spotted flying with this kind of tanks, let alone three of them.

The M-346 has been selected by the Italian Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force, Polish Air Force, and the Israeli Air Force that will use the “Master” to replace the A-4 Skyhawks.

Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis

German Tornado drops ordnance on bomb range in Sardinia sparking fire (and anti-militarist protest)

A limited fire inside a bomb range in Italy sparked anti-militarist protest in Sardinia, Italy. But, as usual, in spite of debate, many want the Armed Forces to remain on the island.

On Sept. 4, an inert bomb dropped by a German Tornado fighter bomber sparked a fire inside the Capo Frasca firing range, located in southwestern Sardinia island, in Italy.

The German “Tonka” was involved in a routine pre-planned firing training sortie from Decimomannu, the airbase that is 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 various ranges located on the eastern and western coasts of Sardinia, including 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.

Even if several countries’ air arms take advantage of the local facilities during training campaigns, national exercises (like Spring Flag) and multi-national drills, the base is mainly used by the Italian and German Air Force squadrons, which regularly deploy their planes to “Deci” to improve their air-to-air and air-to-surface skills and prepare for real operations.

As done a couple of months ago, when 40 Italian, Austrian and German Eurofighter Typhoon jets operated from the Sardinian airbase.

On Sept. 4 the rather exceptional fire, favored by the windy conditions, burned 30 hectares of Mediterranean scrub within the 1,314 hectares of the whole bomb range, enough to spark controversy.

The mishap was used by some politicians to fuel the protest against Sardinian military ranges, that are normally not used during the Summer period (the Capo Frasca range opened again on Sept. 2) to not damage tourism.

However, whilst part of the locals is against military installations and doesn’t want the Italian Armed Forces to use large areas of the island for their training activities, there is another large part of the local population who openly support the military and are thankful for their service against wildfires, that plague the island in the hot season, and for providing Search And Rescue at sea and in mountainous areas (981 missions flown alone by the Decimomannu-based 670 Squadriglia of the Italian Air Force since it was established).

Furthermore, there is a large and wise part of the population who believes that those servicemen that use Sardinian paradisiacal but deserted areas to train or test new weapons systems, are an extremely important resource for the whole territory as they bring much money to otherwise starving local businesses.

Anyway, the anti-military movement, who advocates (among all the other things) the closure of the range because of the danger of explosions and fires has achieved a little success: the Italian Ministry of Defense has temporarily suspended activities on the Capo Frasca training range until Sept. 15. Still, because of the importance of the range, one of the few remaining ones in Italy where live, inert weapons can be dropped, and considered that firing activities have already been halved in the last decade, it is quite unlikely they will obtain something more.

In the meanwhile, the Italian Air Force has strengthened its range’s firefighting equipment.

Capo Frasca

Image credit: Top: German Air Force; Bottom: 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

 

 

Italian MB.339CD aircraft with new unit markings

MB.339CD deployed at Decimomannu airbase sports 32° Stormo code and tail badge.

Spotted recently at Decimomannu airbase where it deployed along with several other aircraft of the same type for the annual firing campaign, the MB.339CD MM55088/32-161 is the only known one of the few to carry the codes and badges of the 32° Stormo (Wing), a unit based at Amendola and equipped with the AMX fighter bomber.

Most probably, the aircraft got the markings during a temporary assignment with the 632° Squadriglia Collegamenti (Liaison Flight), depending from the 32° Stormo at Amendola (hence the 32-xx code).

The unique MB.339CD has now returned to the 212° Gruppo (Squadron) with the 61° Stormo from Lecce Galatina airport, and it is taking part to the deployment alongside that Wing’s contingent.

The 339CD is the advanced, digitalised version of the MB.339A trainer. It is used for pre-operative training, as well as for Slow Movers Interception tasks and it is theoretically capable to perform the light attack role.

MB339CD 32 markings right side

Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis

 

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