From May 3 to May 13, 2010, Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, home of the AWTI (Air Weapons Training Installation) hosted the STAREX 2010 exercise. About 50 aircraft attended the operations that simulated an International crisis scenario. AMXs belonging to the 51° and 32° Stormo (respectively based in Istrana and Amendola), Tornado ECRs of the 50° Stormo (Piacenza), Tornado IDSs of the 6° Stormo (Ghedi), F-2000 Typhoons of the 36° and 4° Stormo (Gioia del Colle and Grosseto), F-16s of the 37° and 5° Stormo (Trapani and Cervia), HH-3Fs of the 15° Stormo (Pratica di Mare), AB.212s of the 9° Stormo (Grazzanise), MB-339CDs of the 61° Stormo (that became famous for sporting the F-2000 kill markings) and a KC-130J belonging to the 46^ Brigata Aerea (based and operating also during the Ex. from Pisa airport) were deployed to Decimomannu where a GAF (German Air Force) Tornado Detachment was also operating. Especially during the first week of the Starex, many special colours took part in the Exercise, comprising the “Viper Special” and the “Diana Special” (the Special Tail) of the 5° Stormo that rolled out at Cervia on April 16 (read here: Con la Diana sul Petto Part 1 and Part 2). Giovanni Maduli went to Decimomannu on May 11 and 12 and took the following images of the aircraft involved in the STAREX 2010. More pictures will be published soon.
The following pictures, taken by Giovanni Maduli at Decimomannu airbase during Starex exercise have made the news and caused sensation. In fact, the kill markings on the two MB.339CDs of the 212° Gruppo of the 61° Stormo, based in Lecce-Galatina, clearly show the silhouettes of a three (2+1) F-2000 Typhoons (virtually) shot down during training engagements that took place inside the ACMI range. The kill markings were applied as a hoax but the news of the presumed kills was too much emphasized. Many talked about the presumed failure of the Typhoons and their pilots, a superficial analysis that was far from being true. Actually, the 339s played a sort of aggressor role in a so-called “Bogey scenario” that was very dangerous for any interceptor; furthermore, the F-2000s were compelled by the ROE (Rules Of Engagement) to be “visual” with the CDs within 1 or 2 miles, and had not the immediate clearance to engage “hot”. Consequently, the “Macchini” had the opportunity to shoot one or two Fox 2s (IR-guided missiles, the AIM-9L Sidewinder) thanks to both the manouvrability of the MB.339 and to the fact that the F-2000 could not use the flares. Hence, the scenario that the Typhoon had to face was extremely demanding, especially since the F-2000s were also called to “manage” some F-16s at the same time. The pilots of the 61° Stormo honestly admitted that the F-2000s obtained so many kills on the MB.339s that there would have been not enough space on their fuselages to draw them all!
For the “Con la Diana sul petto” event, held in Cervia, on Apr. 16, 2010, Andrea Spagna (an amateur designer & collector with +4.000 examples) designed the patch that was worn by some of the crew chiefs and personnel of the GEA (Gruppo Efficienza Aeromobili, Aircraft Maintenance Unit). Since many readers of this blog are interested in collecting patches, I thought it could be interesting for them, with the help of Andrea who provided the image, to understand the workflow that leads to the creation of a new patch. The following pictures should let you understand how the “Bye Bye Falcon” and “Farewell Falcon” were born.
As usual, even in April 2010, 4 Dutch AH-64s of the 301 Sqn of the KLu (Koninklijke Luchtmacht), the Royal Netherlands Air Force, deployed to Frosinone airbase, home of the 72° Stormo of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), to perform training activities in mountain. The helos, (Q-14, Q-19, Q-23 and Q-25) using c/s Bat 71, arrived in Frosinone on Apr. 6 and Giovanni Maduli went there on Apr. 8, to take the following interesting pictures.
The reports about the previous Dutch detachments can be found here and here.
Second part with the pictures taken at Cervia on Apr. 16, 2010. Part 1 available here. As pictures show, the weather was poor. The G.91Y sporting the colours and markings of the 101° Gruppo of the 8° Stormo (based in Cervia until it was disbanded) is one of the most beautiful preserved aircraft I’ve ever seen in Italy. The “Yankee” looks perfect as if it is still airworthy.
The below picture depicts, from right to left, me, Katsuhiko Tokunaga, Pierpaolo Maglio and Riccardo Vestuto, talking at Cervia on Apr. 17, 2010. Photo taken by Giovanni Maduli.