A Unique Special Color Formation. Made in Italy.
On Saturday Jun. 24, Grosseto airbase hosted the event that celebrated the 100th anniversary of five Italian Air Force squadrons: the IX Gruppo (9th Squadron, using the Roman numerals), belonging to the 4° Stormo (Wing), based at Grosseto; the X and XII Gruppo (10th and 12th Squadron), both belonging to the 36° Stormo, Gioia del Colle; the XIII Gruppo (13th Squadron), with the 32° Stormo from Amendola; and the XVIII Gruppo (18th Squadron), belonging to the 37° Stormo, based at Trapani.
Each of the centenary squadrons unveiled a special colored aircraft: the XIII Gruppo, flying the F-35A, presented the world’s first ever JSF CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) variant with special tail markings; the IX, X, XII and XVIII, that fly the Eurofighter Typhoon, unveiled their special colored F-2000A jets.
Both aircraft took part in an air-to-air shooting ahead of the Grosseto event. The photo posted above was shot during that photo session by the photographers of the Troupe Azzurra (ItAF photo team).
The photo of the formation is worth of note, not only because it includes all the new special colors, but also because the Italian Air Force is keeping a very “low profile” about its operations with the F-35. However, the ItAF has scored several firsts with its 5th Gen. aircraft. For instance, on Dec. 12, 2016, Italy became the very first country to take delivery of the 5th generation stealth jet outside of the U.S.. One year before, on Dec. 3, 2015, the Italian Air Force welcomed the first F-35A assembled and delivered outside the U.S. at the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri, in northwestern Italy.
Then, on Feb. 5, 2016 in the hands of an ItAF test pilot, an Italian F-35 successfully completed the type’s very first transatlantic crossing landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
Finally, the very first three F-35A special colors, including MM7336/32-05 leading the special colored aircraft formation depicted in the cool shot above.
Image credit: ItAF