Although it has not (officially) received its first plane yet, the 18° Gruppo (Squadron) of the 37° Stormo (Wing) at Trapani airbase, in Sicily, is the more recent Italian Air Force unit to operate the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Last Squadron to operate the leased U.S. F-16 ADF fighter jets, returned last summer to the AMARG, the 18° Gruppo was initially destined to be disbanded, with Trapani planed to be “downgraded” to DOB (Deployment Operating Base) of the Typhoon fleet: in other words although not permanently hosting any active F-2000 squadron it would maintain trained personnel and equipments to support and handle cells of temporarily deployed Eurofighters.
However, the renewed role of Trapani airbase, strategically located in Sicily, few minutes flight time from North Africa, and a significant amount of available planes (96 between operative and on order ones) persuaded the Air Force to keep the 37° Stormo alive rendering its 18° Gruppo, the fifth Typhoon squadron of the Aeronautica Militare.
Filmed in the month of October, the following video shows the pilots of the 18° Gruppo closely working with the crews and IPs of the 4° Stormo, based at Grosseto, whose 20° Gruppo is the type’s Operational Conversion Unit, to convert to the new Gen. 4+ fighter plane.
The 18° Gruppo should officially be delivered its first plane on Oct. 18, 2012.
- German Eurofighter Typhoons train in Sardinia to improve air-to-air skills (theaviationist.com)
- Spain to defer the delivery and purchase of 12 Typhoon fighter planes signed with the Eurofighter Defense Consortium (theaviationist.com)
- Photo: This is what being intercepted inside a No-Fly Zone by an F-16 fighter jet looks like (theaviationist.com)