The Italian Armed Forces celebrated the 91st Anniversary since the end of WWI with a series of events involving bases, airports and military installation all around the country. As happened in 2008, Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) in Rome hosted an exhibition with equipment belonging to the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), Marina Militare (Italian Navy) and Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard), Esercito Italiano (Italian Army), Guardia di Finanza (Custom Police) and Carabinieri (Military Police). As the following pictures I took there on Nov. 7 show, aircraft, helicopters and much more (including flight gear) was displayed in each Armed Forces’ booths.
As happened last year (read http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/on-board-the-cavour-aircraft-carrier/) the second and largest Italian aircraft carrier Cavour was again in Civitavecchia harbour and could be visited by anybody who wanted to “embark”. Unfortunately, there were few photo opportunities, since unlike 2008, the aircraft inside the hangar could not be photographed. On the other side, many images could be taken on board the “Caio Duilio” (D554), that was next to the Cavour. The “Caio Duilio” is a brand new Anti-Air Warfare destroyer belonging to the Horizon Common New Generation Frigate (CNGF). The ship was taken on charge by the Marina Militare on Apr. 3, 2009 and it is equipped with a Sylver vertical launcher for 48 Aster 15 and 30 missiles, autonomous Command and Control capabilities, LRR S-1850 M long range radar, and PAAMS (Principal Anti Air Missile System) based on Windows 2000 software with an EMPAR multi-function radar. Interestingly, the ship was designed with straight lines that give the unit stealth (low observability) capabilities. The following pictures were taken by Giovanni Maduli.
On Nov. 2, I typed the URL http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it to get the latest news from the website of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) but I got the following message:
Looks like the website has been report as being compromised with some malware injected on the page. According to Google, in the last 90 days, suspicious activity has been reported 3 times. 135 out of 563 pages visited by Google, caused the download of malicious code.
The last time the website was checked is Nov. 2, 2009, while the last time malcious code was detected on the site is Oct. 30, 2009 (again, according to Google). By ignoring the message I got access to homepage of the ItAF website that is temporary unavailable because is currently under maintenance as you can see from the below screenshot. What is not clear right now is whether the ItAF website is being updated because it was hacked with malicious code or it is undertaking maintenance that has nothing to do with the malicious code inserted in some of its internal pages.
On Oct. 15, 2009, the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV) of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) based in Pratica di Mare, celebrated its 60th anniversary with a private ceremony that comprised also a flying display of both solo aircraft and formations. Giovanni Maduli took the following interesting pictures of the mini-airshow held above Pratica di Mare airport.
Piana delle Orme, located near Borgo Faiti some 90 kilometers to the South of Rome, is a historical park where visitors can find a heterogeneous and interesting collection that includes aircraft, tanks, locomotives, carts, models, weapons, radios. The museum’s exhibits focuses on the 20th Century. Its 14 pavilions are organized into two sections: the Agricultural Section and the War Section. The Agricultural section includes the following pavilions: Old-times Toys and Modelling (1 pavilion), Reclamation of Pontine Marshes (2 pavilions), Olden- times Farming Machines (1 pavilion), Life in the Country (2 pavilions). The War Section contains the following pavilions: Olden-times military vehicles (1 pavilion), From El Alamein to Messina and Salerno (2 pavilions), The Landing of Anzio (1 pavilion), Battle of Cassino (1 pavilion), Civilian Use of War Surplus (1 pavilion). A complete visit would take some 4 hours as each pavilion has textual boards and audio guides (available in English and German too). Interestingly both an F-104S/ASA-M (believed to be the MM6722 as the serial is missing) “9-35″ formerly belonging to the 9° Stormo at Grazzanise, and an EC-119G, visible from the car park are displayed in the area between the two rows of pavilions. The EC-119G is the example MM53-8146 “46-35″ an aircraft manufactured in 1953, employed by the Indian Air Force, then by the United Nations in Congo and later by the 46^ Aerobrigata of the Aeronautica Militare at Pisa. For this reason the aircraft still wears the 46^ AB markings. In 1975, the aircraft was modified and then taken on charge by the 71° Gruppo at Pratica di Mare, and used with radio callsign “Perseo 35″ as an Electronic Warfare asset. The aircraft made its last flight on Oct. 31, 1979 and it was the last Fairchild “Flying Boxcar” operating in Europe. It was initially destined to the Museo Storico Aeronautica Militare (ItAF Museum) at Vigna di Valle, but after resting many years at Pratica di Mare, it was acquired by the Piana delle Orme Museum in 1998. As picture I took in August 2009 show, the aircraft is in almost perfect conditions; furthermore, an hydraulic system allows the rotation of the propellers by inserting a 2 Euro coin in a sort of parking meter. The “Sbarco di Anzio” pavilion (for the story of the famous Anzio Beachhead click here) contains the remain of a Curtiss P-40L “Warhawk”. The aircraft sank in the sea in front of Latina on Jan. 31, 1944, after a successful ditching performed by Lt. Michael Mauritz. He was flying the Curtiss P40L dubbed “Skipper” in a reconnaissance mission on Anzio when he was forced to land on sea following serious overheating problems at the engine. Althought he was able to escape the sinking aircraft and reach the beach on a lifeboat, he was taken by the Germans. Helped by partisans, he was able to escape from the prison camp of Laterina (Arezzo) and after a long and difficult escape across Italy he was able to rejoin with his unit: the 79th Fighter Group. In September 1998 Michael Mauritz was invited to Piana delle Orme for the presentation of his aircraft that was recovered from the sea-bed where it laid at a depth of 10 meters at short distance from the beach, on Jan. 11, 1998.
For those interested in a visit, I suggest having a look at the Museum’s website whose contents are available in Italian, English and German language.
Click on the image to open a high-resolution version of this picture taken at Decimomannu by Giovanni Maduli during the 50th Anniversary of the AWTI that will provide a lot of details about the Italian and German aircraft attending the event.
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