On Sept. 16, 2011, the 4° Stormo, one of the most famous and glorious units of the Italian Air Force, celebrated its 80th anniversary with a reunion of personnel who has served with the Wing since it was established in 1931.
The event’s highlight was a Typhoon 9-ship formation (6 single seaters and 3 two seaters, not the largest Eurofighter formation ever) of the 9° Gruppo and 20° OCU (Operational Conversion Unit), that performed a series of flypasts before splitting into two sections (5+4) for landing.
A static display which included two special colored F-104s, two Eurofighters [one of which sported the “80 anni” text of both DASSs (Defensive Aids Sub Systems)] and dummy (blue labeled) AIM-9L, AIM-120B and IRIS-T missiles, was arranged too in the apron used by the 20° Gruppo when it flew the F-104 Starfighter.
During the day, the official book of the 80th anniversary titled “Al lupo, al lupo” was presented. I’m one of the authors of the new book (Hardcover, 224 pages, Italian – English text, ISBN 978-88-96723-01-2) an extremely detailed account of the recent and past history of the 4° Stormo. The book is mainly focused on the most recent years of the 80-year long history of the unit: as Col. Michele Morelli, commander of the Stormo, explained during his presentation’s introductiory speech, on the last year alone, the “Quarto” (Italian for “Fourth”) has hosted the Winter Hide 2011 exercise, has taken part in the most eastern operations of Italian tacair planes by deploying two F-2000s to Bangalore for Aero India 2011 air show, flew several sorties over Libya in support of Operation Unified Protector, and finally deployed to Iceland, for Exercise Northern Viking, where the squadron will provide air policing missions.
I’ve written the chapters about the 4° Stormo from 1990 to Dec. 31, 2010 (in other words, the F-104 ASA period and phase-out and the F-2000 history, from the delivery to the beginning of 2011); the 20° Gruppo with the TF-104; the 604^ Squadriglia Collegamenti involvement in Afghanistan to support the ISAF mission; and the Ferrari – Typhoon race.