Another Scramble for the Italian F-16s

On Apr. 18, a Kuwaitian C-130 UK-bound, coming from Athens and crossing the Italian airspace was intercepted by two F-16s of the 5th Stormo. The Italian fighters took off from Cervia, intercepted the “zombie” over PNZ (Ponza) radiobeacon at 08.45L, identified it and escorted it until the boundaries of the Italian airspace.
On some forums and mailing lists, commenting a previous Scramble, people wondered why an aircraft flying througn multiple NATO countries was intercepted intercepted and escorted only from Italy.
As I’ve explained a FPL must contain a diplomatic clearance to cross some countries’ airspaces. The diplo clearance is issued by each country individually so a flight can have a valid one to cross a
country and an expired one to cross another one. At least in Italy, if a flight has no diplo clearance, the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) will be scrambled to visually identify the traffic. That’s why scambles are not at all rare things.

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.