Italian B707 last operative flight

On Apr. 3, the last of 4 Italian Air Force B.707TT of the 8th Gruppo made its last operative flight during the build up phase of the Spring Flag Exercise. The aircraft, serialled MM62151, using c/s I-2151 with 67 people on board carried to Decimomannu 4 pallets of material and equipment. 23.000 FH have been flown in the last 16 years all around the World in both air-to-air refueling (AAR) missions and transportation. The aircraft, originally purchased from the TAP airlines, will be replaced by the KC-767A, a military version based on the Boeing 767-200ER version, that the ITAF has bought in 4 examples. The delay in the delivery of the new tanker (initially scheduled to be delivered in 2006) compelled the ItAF to extend the operative life of 2 of its B707 for another 2 years (the other B707s were sold to the Omega Air), with the Boeing company paying for the cost of the maintenance of the aircraft. The KC-767A, that has recently lost the KC-X competition with the KC-30 (based on the Airbus A-330) for replacement of the USAF KC-135 and KC-10, should be delivered to the 14th Stormo at the beginning of the 2009; in the meanwhile the Italian crews will train on a B767 provided by Boeing (an aircraft that hasn’t any AAR capability) that will allow the 8th Gruppo pilots to acquire a basic training on the new type.

In 2004 I flew with the B707 an AAR sortie from Pratica di Mare airbase during Ex. Spring Flag. To read the text and see all the in-flight and ground pictures (including a walkaround) read here: In volo con Agip 25 (B707 report & walkaround)

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.