Tag Archives: Decimomannu

Interesting images show a Tornado IDS carrying eight GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs during test flight

The Tornado fighter bomber is one of the platforms already integrated with the GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs).

The GBU-39 SDB is a 250-lb multipurpose, insensitive, penetrating bomb with a blast-fragmentation warhead for stationary targets.

These bombs are equipped with deployable wings for extended standoff range that open upon release allowing the GPS-guided bomb to glide for several miles before hitting the target with accuracy.

GBU-39s are quite small: they are usually carried in two pairs underneath the fuselage (on tactical jets) or on the underwing pylons (on the AC-130W that is the largest aircraft to use this kind of bomb).

Among the Lessons Learned of the Air War in Libya, there was the need to employ SDBs to improve accuracy from distance and reduce collateral damage; a GBU-39 launched at high-speed from high altitude can travel for as much as 50 miles, allowing the attack plane to remain outside the range of most SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) batteries.

The SDB is currently integrated on the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-22, that with software increment 3.1 is able to carry 8 GBU-39s, and the AC-130W whereas all the remaining U.S. bombers (including the F-35) will get the slender bombs in the future. The Israeli and Italian air forces have procured this kind of weapon as well, with the latter planning to integrate the SDBs on the Tornado aircraft upgraded to the enhanced RET 7 and 8 standards.

Separation tests from the Italian Tornado were announced in 2003 and planned from late 2015; the images in this post, taken near Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy, by photographer Giampaolo Mallei, show a Panavia Tornado MLU (Mid-Life Update) carrying four SDBs during the testing campaign conducted by Alenia Aeronautica.

Tornado with SDBs side

Image credit: Giampaolo Mallei


New photo shows Eurofighter Typhoon carrying Storm Shadow cruise missiles during latest trials

Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft is expanding its air-to-surface capabilities with air-launched cruise missiles.

The image in this post was taken at Decimomannu airbase, Italy, on Sept. 10.

It shows the Italian Eurofighter Typhoon instrumented production aircraft 2 (IPA2) carrying two MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missiles during the latest weapons trials in Sardinia.

The MBDA Storm Shadow missile is a conventional, stealthy, 1.300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt long), designed for use against very high value targets in all-weather conditions.

The missile is already in service with the RAF and Italian Tornados, that have extensively used it in combat during Libya Air War. The missile will further enhance the swing role capabilities of the Typhoon and may be a weapon of interest for all those operators that use (or plan to) the aircraft in the air-to-surface role. Including Kuwait, that has become the latest country to select the Typhoon and is expected to operate 28 planes, the “most advanced Eurofighters yet.”

Image credit: Giampaolo Mallei


New images of Europe’s stealth combat drone nEUROn during operational testing

The nEUROn stealth combat drone as seen from a different point of view.

The first example of the nEUROn UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), is conducting operational testing in the Perdasdefogu range, in Sardinia.

The photos in this article were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Caglieri as the full-scale technology demonstrator returned to Decimomannu airbase at the end of a test flight.

Noteworthy, these were shot from the left hand side of the drone with the extracted undercarriage, and they clearly show the text XAV-5A-003 on the landing gear door along with the flags of the nations that are taking part in the development of the nEUROn France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Greece.

After completing the testing campaign in Italy, the nEUROn will move to Visdel, Sweden, for weapons trials.

nEUROn left side top

Image credit: Alessandro Caglieri


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