Italian Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon, T-346A and Frecce Tricolori Display Team Have Completed their Middle East Tour

ItAF T-346 and F-2000A in Qatar.

The tour brought the Italian jets belonging to the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Italian Air Force Test Wing) and the Frecce Tricolori display team to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

With the display of the T-346A Master and Eurofighter F-2000A of the 311° Gruppo (Squadron) of the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV – Test Wing) and the grand finale with the 10x MB.339A/PAN of the Frecce Tricolori, the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), has completed its tour of the Middle East.

The tour, sponsored by Leonardo company, has brought the Italian jets to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, promoting the Italian aerospace and capabilities across the Persian Gulf region.

It was also the very first time the T-346 took part in such a long trip. The Master pilots, belonging to the RSV and the 212° Gruppo of the 61° Stormo (Wing) from Lecce, have flown from Pratica di Mare to Al Udeid, Qatar, along with two F-2000A jets, thanks to the support of a KC-767 tanker from the 14° Stormo: five aerial refuelings and 6 flying hours were required to move the aircraft to Qatar non-stop.

F-2000A on the ground at Al Udeid, Qatar.
Five aerial refuelings were required during the non-stop flight from Pratica di Mare to Al Udeid, Qatar.
The T-346 during AAR as seen from inside the KC-767 tanker.

The first part of the tour saw the Italian aircraft take part in an air show over Doha on Nov. 10 and 11 but, during their stay in Qatar, the RSV also carried out demo and orientation flights for the Qatar Emiri Air Force and Qatar Air Academy aircrews.

From Nov. 14-16, the Frecce Tricolori display team attended the “Bahrain International Air Show”: it was the very first time since it was formed in 1961, that the Italian team flew to Bahrain.

The Frecce Tricolori display team during the display in Doha.

The last leg of the tour reached Kuwait City where the airshow opened the Italian week in Kuwait organised by the local Italian Embassy. The event was also attended by the Italian Air Force Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Alberto Rosso, who was involved in bilateral talks with the Kuwait’s Army Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Khaled Al Khader and the  Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Tayyar Adnan Al-Fadhli.

The main topic of the talks was jet training: Kuwait is among the partner nations represented at the 61° Stormo, the international Flight School based in Lecce Galatina, southeastern Italy where, next week, some Kuwaiti students will graduate “Military Pilots” after a training process that included flying with the T-346A LIFT (Lead-In to Fighter Trainer), one of the world’s most advanced jet trainers, selected by Italy, Poland, Israel and Singapore for advanced pre-operative training.

The M-346 “Master” is a dual-engine LIFT (Lead-In to Fighter Trainer) jet selected by Italy, Poland, Israel and Singapore for advanced pre-operative training, the latest stage of a fighter pilot training, which aims to develop the information management and aircraft handling skills of future pilots before they are assigned to the OCUs (Operational Conversion Units).
The T-346A of the RSV during the Doha airshow. The T-346 was one of the highlights of the tour.

Image credit: Troupe Azzurra Italian Air Force

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.