Tag Archives: Frecce Tricolori

The Italian Air Force showcases its most advanced aircraft and capabilities at Rivolto airshow.

Typhoons, KC-767, T-346, HH-101 and much more among the highlights of the largest Italian airshow this year.

Last weekend, the Italian Air Force celebrated the Frecce Tricolori‘s 55th anniversary with an airshow at Rivolto airbase, in northeastern Italy, attended by 450,000 spectators and featuring more than 100 planes, helicopters and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and 11 national display teams.

Obviously, the leading role in the airshow was played by the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) that showcased its most advanced “hardware” and capabilities.

The Italian Eurofighter Typhoons took the stage not only with a stunning solo display by the F-2000 (as the aircraft is designated by the ItAF) of the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Test Wing) from Pratica di Mare but also by escorting an Alitalia A320 and an A330 in an air defense role demo aimed at showing what the aircraft do more frequently.

Alitalia +Typhoon

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito

In fact, Italy has been the very first (and the only one, for the moment) nation to provide so-called IAP (Interim Air Policing) tasks over four foreign airspaces: Iceland (on rotation), Slovenia, Albania (task shared with the Hellenic Air Force) and Baltic States (where first rotation ended at the end of August, when the four Italian F-2000s successfully completed their 8-month NATO Baltic Air Patrol deployment to Lithuania, logging about 900 flying hours, 40 Alpha-Scrambles (alert takeoffs), more than 160 Tango-Scrambles (training scrambles) and several training missions).

As already mentioned here, during the airshow, the ItAF unveiled two special colored Typhoons belonging to the 10° Gruppo (Squadron) of 36° Stormo (Wing), based at Gioia del Colle: two aircraft (MM7297 and 7308), with camouflaged tail, tricolored rudder and a large black rearing horse on white cloud, symbol of Italy’s top WWI ace Francesco Baracca, performed a flyover along with a replica of the SPAD XIII, the French biplane fighter aircraft flown by Baracca that inspired the new special color scheme.

Typhoon Cavallino

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito

Aerial refueling is another capability that Italy is continuing to develop to improve power projection: the Italian Boeing KC-767A, the first international tanker to successfully complete aerial refueling of a U.S. Air Force F-35A on Jul 29, took part in the display flying over Rivolto airbase leading a formation of two  Typhoons and two Tornado IDS and two AMX bombers that had previously performed a simulated attack on the base. A real first was the HAAR (Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling) demo showing a brand new AgustaWestland HH-101A Caesar of the 15° Stormo (Wing) trailing a KC-130J tanker of the 46^ Brigata Aerea from Pisa: a confirmation that the new CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) helicopter that the ItAF will use for Special Forces support, Personnel Recovery in hostile environments, MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) and SMI (Slow Mover Intercept) missions will soon start aerial refueling certification testing.

HH101 refuel

Other Italian helicopters taking part in the flying display were also the HH-139A multipurpose combat chopper and the new AW.149 medium-lift military helicopter.

AW149 front

Another interesting display was the one of the T-346A (the Italian Air Force designation for the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master advanced jet trainer) of the RSV from Pratica di Mare that showed the stunning performance and maneuvering capabilities of the dual-engine LIFT (Lead-In to Fighter Trainer) jet selected by Italy, Poland, Israel and Singapore.

T-346A Legend 06 take off

Dealing with pilot training, one of the highlights of the airshow was a unique “Legend formation,” made of all the most important training planes in the history of the Italian Air Force, from the G.59, to the T-6 Texan, to the MB.326 to the above mentioned T-346, the latest and most advanced one, flying with the 61° Stormo at Lecce Galatina airbase and used for advanced pre-operative training of the Italian, Dutch (and soon Polish) pilots destined to the 4th and 5th Generation combat planes.

Legend formation abeam

339CD + 326

Although the most exciting part of the airshow was the “dynamic” flying display, some interesting things could be found among the participants in static display. Among them, the mock-up of the T-344 V.E.S.P.A. (Very Efficient Smart Power Aircraft), an ItAF indigenous project based on the Caproni C-22J light jet-powered aircraft that will be used for basic ab initio jet training.

The P.1HH HammerHead UAS (Unmanned Aerial System), that the ItAF has already procured (three UAS systems, consisting of six aircraft and three ground stations and complete with ISR configuration, that will be delivered early next year), was also in static display sporting the markings and code of 28° Gruppo (Squadron) belonging to 32° Stormo from Amendola, the ItAF’s UAV unit.


Another aircraft that caught the interest of the public was the M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) a trainer based on the M-311 and expected to enter service with the Italian Air Force between 2017-2020 to replace the aging MB.339. The M-345 HET was selected to be the next aircraft flown by the Frecce Tricolori display team.

Newsworthy, the Frecce Tricolori, that sported the new livery introduced in 2015 for the 55th anniversary, presented a new maneuver dubbed “Scintilla Tricolore” (Tricolored Spark) during their final display.

MB339PAN Lorenzo Cenciotti

Image credit: Lorenzo Cenciotti

As already said, Italy’s largest airshow in 2015 featured some interesting foreign participants, including the Royal Saudi Air Force Saudi Hawks and Finnish Air Force Midnight Hawks display teams and the Polish Mig-29 and Belgian F-16 solos, as well as the AH-64 Apache of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Demo Team.

AH-64 inverted

Midnight Hawks taxi

Saudi Hawks landing

Interestingly, for the first time ever, Rivolto airshow was preceded by a Spotter Day attended by about 300 photographers who were given the possibility to get shots of the arrivals and rehearsals. Kudos to the Italian Air Force and its Public Information Office for this much appreciated initiative.

Mig-29 panning

All images by David Cenciotti unless otherwise stated.


The Italian Air Force has just unveiled two Eurofighter Typhoon jets with special colored tails

Two Italian Typhoon sport an interesting tail color scheme.

Among the several highlights of the Rivolto Spotter Day organized by the Italian Air Force on Sept. 4, ahead of the air show (Sept. 5 and 6) to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori display team, there is also the special colored tails sported by two Eurofighter Typhoon jets.

The aircraft, belonging to the 10° Gruppo (Squadron) of 36° Stormo (Wing), based at Gioia del Colle were given an unusual camouflaged tail with a tricolored rudder and a large black rearing horse on white cloud, symbol of Italy’s top WWI ace Francesco Baracca.

F-2000 Special

Both aircraft (MM7297 and 7308) took part in the air display at Rivolto performing a flyover along with a replica of the SPAD XIII, the French biplane fighter aircraft flown by Baracca that inspired the new special color scheme (the two jets did not fly in formation with the Spad but made a fast flyby at the end of the biplane’s display).



Frecce Tricolori MB.339PAN sports brand new livery to celebrate 55th anniversary of the display team

It’s the first time the Frecce Tricolori paint one of their aircraft with a special color scheme.

The “Frecce Tricolori” display team, the only one in the world to perform a display with 10 jets, is equipped with a modified Alenia Aermacchi MB339A, a single engine tandem seat training and tactical support aircraft.

The aircraft of the Italian Air Force display team differ from the standard model serving with the Aeronautica Militare’s 61° Stormo (Wing) at Galatina airbase by the presence onboard of the coloured smokes generation system fed from an under wing fuel tank filled with a colouring agent which is discharged through nozzles placed in the jet exhaust; by the fact it flies with no tip tanks to enhance maneuverability; and, above all, by the characteristic livery of the planes: blue, with tricolored stripes.

Frecce Special

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of the team (actually, the 55th display season), the aircraft assigned to the Frecce Commander was painted with special tail (with the tricolored stripes that cover the whole of it), special silhouettes of the aircraft flown by the team since 1961 (F-86, G.91 and MB.339) and was given the celebratory number #55 (instead of the #0 carried usually sported by “Pony 0” the Commander’s plane).

Frecce Special nose section

side detail

Five years ago, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the aircraft of the Frecce Cdr was slightly modified by simply applying the number #50 instead of #0.

The images in this post were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Fucito at Grazzanise airbase, where the Frecce had deployed for rehearsals, on Apr. 22.

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito


Royal International Air Tattoo 2014 highlights

Here are some of the highlights of RAF Fairford’s Royal International Air Tattoo 2014.

Even though the F-35B Lightning II aircraft could not cross the Pond to take part in the world’s biggest military airshow, the Royal International Air Tattoo 2014 at RAF Fairford, UK, Jul. 17 – 19 did not fail to attract some interesting visitors.

Here are some of those military aircraft and display teams, shot during their demo flights, arrival or departure, by photographer Estelle Calleja.


Last Greek’s A-7 Special Color “Olympus”


AH-64 Apache

Army Air Corps AH-64 Apache



Italian Air Force AMX ACOL



Italian Air Force C-27J


F-16 BAF

Belgian Air Force F-16 Demo


Frecce Tricolori

Frecce Tricolori aerobatic demo team


ItAF Typhoon

Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon


Patrouille de France

Patrouille de France


Patrouille Suisse

Patrouille Suisse


SAF F-18

Swiss Air Force F/A-18


Solo Turk

Turkish Air Force F-16 demo “Solo Türk”


SpAF Hornet

Spanish Air Force F/A-18



Polish Air Force Su-22


Super Hornet

Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet

All images by Estelle Calleja


M-345 HET in new Frecce Tricolori display team livery unveiled

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

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