Supersonic scramble for the Italian F-16 Jets

Today, two Trapani based F-16s belonging to the 37 Stormo were scrambled to intercept a Lufthansa flight transiting through the Italian airspace. LH8619T, was flying from Milan Linate to Athinai, when at 08.29 LT it lost the radio contact with Padova ATC. The QRA flight of Southern Italy was immediately scrambled to intercept and escort the civilian A300 and two armed “Vipers”, just after take off, were cleared to accelerate to supersonic speed in order to reach the “zombie” as soon as possible.  The consequent shock wave caused a loud “bang” that was heard from many miles away. The two fighters were cruising above Mach 1, when the Lufthansa flight was able to establish the radio contact with “Brindisi Control”, and they were ordered to “skip it”, to slow down to subsonic speed and RTB (Return To Base). The F-16s made a fuel stop to Gioia del Colle before proceeding to Trapani.
This was the 5th scramble of 2008.

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.