A near miss from the inside

I don’t know how this (leaked?) video was obtained. I’m not even sure it will remain online for a long time. The Belgian user who uploaded should be careful since I’m pretty sure the footage was not meant to be publicly disclosed, but maybe he got all the permissions required. Anyway at the following address:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7DygPsJ_sA
you can see an impressive near miss recorded by an Italian F-16. Radio comms can be heard as well.
Here’s just a screenshot:

Aircraft involved are two ItAF F-16s of the 37° Stormo, based in Trapani (radio callsign “Brandy”). Date of the near miss is Dec 13, 2006. The aircraft are apparently returning to their homebase after some kind of exercise; they are in contact with “Cyrano” (a French E-3 AWACS) that clears them to climb to FL360 for RTB. Then, the two fighters are handed over to Rome Military radar that tries to identify the mission but can’t estrablish the radar contact with it. The two aircraft continue climbing to the previously cleared level and level off at FL360 when the wingman spots something that is coming from the opposite direction, same level, between the two F-16 (that are most probably flying a loose formation). At time 03:30 you can see the contrails of the commercial jet appearing on the left side. The leader of Brandy 41 sees the incoming liner at the very last moment and performs an escape manoeuvre. The cause of the near miss is obviously not clear: for sure the two aircraft are given from Cyrano a clearance to climb to 36.000 feet. The E-3 has coordinated the climb and they are under radar control. They contact Rome Military telling the controller “….climbing 360…” and they repeat the information as they give their position and altitude (“360, 100 NM from RONAB”) shortly before the close encouter, when they are requested to check the C mode. Something unclear occurred (I think on radar controller side….) but a fine weather, a watchful wingman and a certain amout of luck contributed to the happy ending.

About David Cenciotti 3890 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.