Italian Tornados over Afghanistan

Tornado ISAF

On Feb. 2, above Shebergan, some 150 chilometers to the West of Mazar-i-Sharif, the Tornados of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) TDY in Afghanistan achieved their first 100 flight hours in theatre.

Since Nov 28, 2008, the aircraft have performed 45 sorties and the 100th FH was logged in less than 1 month since achieving the FOC (Final Operational Capability).

The aircraft have been operating in the Recce role using the Reccelite pod and providing one third of the digital images collected by the ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) assets operating in theatre.

In the near future, with the upgrade of the Reccelite software, the pod will be able to deliver images to a ground station in real time using a datalink.

So far, the aircraft were flown by 154° Gruppo crews that will be soon replaced by the 156° Gruppo ones, recently arrived in Afghanistan. Interestingly, the 156° will fly in a mission that has always been assigned to the 154° Gruppo, a sign that the recent movement of the Squadron within the same parent unit of the 154° brought to a sort of mission commonality and interoperability.

Image credit: Aeronautica Militare



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.