Spring Flag Media Day report (debrief part 2)

The Media Day of the Spring Flag 2008 was focused on the press conference that provided lots of information about this year’s edition of the exercise.
Here’s a summary of the main figures of the Spring Flag:
SF08 was a Joint, Interdepartmental, International Exercise, integrated with some Government Agencies and with the Red Cross. During the two week, medium-scale air operations were conducted from two DOBs (Deployable Operating Base), Deci and Trapani. This is one of the main differences between the SF07 and this year’s edition: in order to create a more realistic scenario, the aircraft were not all based on the same airport. Because of the current financial constrainsts, this year’ SF did not host the field hospital, kitchen and all the logistic assets that during 2007 edition were based in Decimomannu. Unlike last year, when JFACC (Joint Force Air Component Command) managed all the air ops, this year the JFACC split in a DCAOC (Deployable Combined Air Operations Center), deployed to Bari-Palese airport, that managed the coalition forces, and CAOC5 that from its usual homebase in Poggio Renatico, managed the opposing forces (“opfor”). 52 Italian and 23 foreign assets (and 1.968 people) attended the exercise, performing all range of missions; among the most interesting sorties the SF08 encopassed also Intelligence gathering missions, Combat SAR (CSAR), Slow Mover Interception (SMI) and Urban CAS (Close Air Support). In order to test the handling capabilities of the airport, an ATOC (Air Terminal Operation Center) was established in Deci and operated for 8 days with 12 people providing check-in and boarding services and handling some 600/800 passengers per day.
Tactical sorties were launched in 1 daily window during the first week and 1 night window during the second week. As already reported in this site, the air campaign was affected by the bad weather conditions that interested during both weeks the Mediterranean region:the Coalition forces logged 212 missions out of 373 planned sorties (63%). The Opfor based in Trapani were less affected by the meteorological conditions and flew 119 sorties out of 137 planned (87%).
According to Gen. Iacomino, CinC of the COFA (Comando Operativo Forze Aeree, Air Forces Operative Command) all the aims of the exercise were achieved; last but not least the goal to enable journalists providing a complete media coverage of the event “in order to show to the citizens the importance of a certain kind of training to prepare the Italian Air Forces, the other Armed Forces and allied ones to operate efficiently and efficaciously in Peace Support Operations”. 120 journalists and photographers of the most important Italian and foreign television, newspapers, magazine and agencies attended the Spring Flag 2008. The journalist’s figure is particularly important for the Italian Air Force that today considers the media operators as active players that “orbit” around the air ops and must have access to the information needed in a timely way. But not only. In current scenarios, especially in areas of crisis, a journalist can also be the subject to rescue with a complex CASEVAC mission, like displayed during the Media Day air display or on Apr 8 CSAR event.

David Cenciotti

In order to read the previous posts about the Spring Flag published on this site click here and scroll down: Spring Flag 2008 posts

More pictures will be uploaded soon.

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.