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