Tag Archives: Italian Air Force

[Updated] Greek F-16 has reportedly crashed on TLP apron during take off from Albacete. Other aircraft reportedly hit

Photos from Albacete airbase, in Spain, show fire on the flightline.

According to the reports coming from Albacete airbase, home of the Tactical Leadership Program, an F-16 belonging to the Hellenic Air Force has crashed on take off.

Photos emerging on social networks seem to suggest the aircraft may have hit the flightline: two Italian Air Force AMX jets seem to be quite close to the burning wreckage of the Greek two-seater F-16D. However, more aircraft are believed to be involved, since several explosions were heard following the impact of the HAF fighter jet.

www.rtve.es

Screenshot from rtve.es website

Spanish media outlets have been issuing updates since the incident occurred around 3.00 PM LT: according to the latest reports, 2 people were killed and 10 injured as a consequence of the crash.

Update 18.30 GMT

10 casualties and 13 injured people, according to the latest reports from the crash scene. At least one French Alpha Jet seems to have been hit by the F-16D; U.S. F-15E aircraft appears to be parked close to wrecked Fighting Falcon.

According to the Italian MoD 9 Italian military injured in the Greek Air Force F-16D crash at Albacete in Spain. The Italian contingent taking part in TLP includes 2 AMX jets from 51° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force from Istrana airbase and 5 AV-8B+ Harrier II of the Italian Navy from Grottaglie airbase.

 

Top image credit: @MotorAire

 

These are the first pictures of the Italian Typhoon jets providing NATO Baltic Air Policing in Lithuania

Italy has taken over the role of lead nation in the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP).

On Dec. 29, four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets deployed to Siauliai airbase, in Lithuania, to take over the lead role of NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the Portuguese Air Force F-16s beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.

Polish MiG-29s and Spanish Eurofighters deployed to Šiauliai, Lithuania, and Ämari, Estonia, respectively; they will replace four CF-188s of the Royal Canadian Air Force, four German Air Force Eurofighters out of Ämari, Estonia. The four Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s out of Malbork, Poland will replaced by the Belgian Air Force F-16s.

With their first participation to the BAP, Italy has become the very first nation to provide air policing tasks over four foreign airspaces: Iceland (on rotation), Slovenia, Albania (task shared with the Hellenic Air Force) and Baltic States.

The Italian Typhoons landed at Siauliai carrying 3 external fuel tanks, 3 IRIS-T and 4 AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles: an interesting, heavy, configuration.

Aircraft providing BAP, in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) at their deployment bases are often scrambled to intercept, identify and escort Russian Air Force planes (including spyplanes and bombers) flying in international airspace close to the airspaces of Baltic States and NATO countries.

Typhoon BAP side
Image credit Eduardas Kuznecovas

 

Photos from Aircraft involved in rescue mission to evacuate people trapped on burning ferry

Italian and Greek military and coast guard aircraft, helicopters and boats are battling strong winds and massive waves to rescue 478 people trapped on a burning ferry adrift between Italy and Albania.

A complex rescue mission is underway since early in the morning on Dec. 28, when fire broke out on a car deck of the Italian flagged “Norman Atlantic” ferry, travelling from Patras, Greece, to Ancona, Italy, with 478 people on board.

Italy and Greece dispatched helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft (including an Italian Coast Guard ATR-42MP and Hellenic C-130) to support the rescue mission that will go ahead until everyone aboard is evacuated from the ferry, adrift about 15 nautical miles from the Albanian coast.

Smoke

Italian Air Force HH-139s, Italian Navy SH-212 and EH-101s helicopters are rescuing passengers from the ship and carrying them to the nearby ships or hospitals in southeastern Italy.

Ferry EH101

At 21.43 GMT, 287 people must still be evacuated. One of the passengers has been declared dead. Rescue operations are particularly difficult because of the high seas, darkness and amount of smoke coming from the ship.

Ferry MM 4

Both the ferry and the nearby ships can be tracked by AIS (Automatic Identification System), an automatic tracking system used for identification and geo-localization of vessels that can be considered the naval homologous of the ADS-B used by airplanes and it is used for collision avoidance, search and rescue, and for aids to navigation.

Here below you can see the track followed by the Norman Atlantic until the present position (from MarineTraffic.com):

Norman Atlantic track

Here below you can see the position of the ferry at 21.39 GMT:

Norman Atlantic position

It looks like one of the supporting helicopters is also using broadcasting its flight data by means of AIS and can be tracked. Have a look at the path it has followed.

Norman Atlantic helicopter

Image credit: Guardia Costiera, Marina Militare, Marinetraffic.com

 

Norway, Poland and The Netherlands to Acquire Shared Aerial Refueling Capability

European Defense Agency has published a Statement according to which the Netherlands, Norway and Poland have expressed their will to start negotiations with the Airbus Defence & Space Company, regarding acquisition of the MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) aircraft.

As shown by the Air War in Libya in 2011, tankers are among the most important assets in any modern military air campaign. Several European air forces lack the (somehow basic) capability to project the air power by supporting their front line fighter jets and attack planes with aerial refuelers and, in light of the ever shrinking defense budgets, they are looking at the “pooling and sharing” principle to optimize resources.

Therefore, whilst Sweden, has already started collective aerial refueling activities with the Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767, (along with France and the UK), Norway, Poland and the Netherlands have decided to create a joint tanker force based on the Airbus A330 MRTT.

Back in March 2012, Defense Ministries of these countries declared that they were willing to further develop the air-refueling capability among the European air forces. This initiative has also been endorsed by the European Council, which considers it to be one of the four key programs within the scope of operational capability development. What is interesting, more partner states are invited to participate in the program, further on the road, which means that they may join the initiative later on. Initial Operational Capability is expected to be obtained by 2019.

The Netherlands, along with Norway and Poland decided to use NSPA (NATO Support Agency) support and to ask OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement) for help within the scope of starting the relevant negotiations with the Airbus Defence & Space company.

According to altair.com.pl the negotiations do not mean that any agreement would be signed afterward. Indeed, the release published on the official website of the European Defense Agency states that “(…) engagement in further negotiations does not constitute a commitment by EDA, NSPA, OCCAR or the Participating nations to place an order either as a result of this dialogue or at a subsequent stage.”

Market research, carried out via the means of targeted requests for information, has revealed that only the MRTT aircraft meets the requirements formulated by the parties. The tanker is to be equipped with two refueling systems – a flying boom as well as underwing pods with hoses, in order to facilitate refueling of a variety of aircraft (even though, so far, the three participating nations are using the F-16 as their main fighter, which is refueled via the rigid boom-based system).

Another important issue which should be noted is the fact that Airbus MRTT is not dedicated solely to refueling tasks, as it is also quite capable transport aircraft. The transport capabilities may be useful in case of strategic airlift or MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) operations.

Image credit: Airbus

 

Italian Eurofighter Typhoons ready to take over lead role in NATO Baltic Air Policy

Four Italian Air Force Typhoons will provide Baltic Air Policing duties from Siauliai airbase, Lithuania.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the Italy will take over the role of lead nation in the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP).

Four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets will deploy to Siauliai airbase, in Lithuania, where they will relieve the four Portuguese F-16s at their second rotation at the eastern border of NATO.

Currently committed to the operation are also four CF-188s of the Royal Canadian Air Force, as well as German Air Force Eurofighters out of Ämari, Estonia, and Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s out of Malbork, Poland that will replaced by Polish MiG-29s and Spanish Eurofighters scheduled to deploy to Šiauliai, Lithuania, and Ämari, Estonia, respectively.

Aircraft providing BAP are regularly scrambled to intercept, identify and escort Russian Air Force planes (including spyplanes and bombers) flying in international airspace close to the airspaces of NATO countries.

With the participation to the BAP, Italy will become the very first nation to provide air policing tasks over four foreign airspaces: Iceland (on rotation), Slovenia, Albania (task shared with the Hellenic Air Force) and Lithunia.