Two ItAF F-16s intercept an Ukrainan liner

While being widely involved in the Ex. Spring Flag 2008, the Italian Air Force ensures the SSSA (Servizio Sorveglianza Spazio Aereo, Airspace Surveillance Service) with its F-16s and F-2000A ready to takeoff in scramble (alert takeoff). On Apr 7, during the first day of the SF08, an Ukrainan Tupolev 134/A was intercepted by two F-16ADF of the 5 Stormo of the ItAF. The two “Vipers” were scrambled because the Tupolev had entered the Italian airspace without a valid diplomatic clearance. The F-16s belonging to the 23rd Gruppo QRA departed from Cervia at 13.55L, intercepted the Tupolev to perform a Visual Identification (VID) and escorted the “zombie” until 25 NM SW of ALG, outside the Italian airspace.
Two 23rd Gruppo’s F-16s, temporary deployed to Trapani airbase, play also an important role in the Spring Flag as part of the Opfor party along with 6 Vipers of the locally-based 18th Gruppo of the 37th Stormo.

The following pictures courtesy of Lt. Fabrizio Nitti

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.