Italian Air Force AMX Jets Provide IR Imagery Of Stromboli Volcano After Eruption

An IR image of Stromboli Volcano, taken by an ItAF AMX with the RecceLite pod on Jul. 4, 2019. (Image credit: ItAF)

Take a look at the volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli through the eye of a RecceLite reconnaissance pod.

A hiker was killed when the volcano erupted on the small island of Stromboli, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, on Jul. 3, 2019.

In the aftermath of the eruption, the Italian Air Force has dispatched AMX Ghibli jets to perform reconnaissance runs over the island located off the north coast of Sicily, and gather imagery that can be used by the rescuers.

The aircraft, belonging to 132° Gruppo (Squadron) of the 51° Stormo (Wing), based at Istrana Air Base, in northeastern Italy, carried out the task with the Rafael RecceLite reconnaissance pod: the Reccelite is a Day/Night electro-optical pod able to provide real-time imagery collection. It is made of a stabilized turret, solid-state on board recorder that provides image collections in all directions, from high, medium and low altitudes.

RecceLite IR (Infra-Red) imagery of Stromboli after the eruption. (Image credit: ItAF)

The Reccelite reconnaissance pod is used to broadcast live video imagery via datalink to ground stations and to ROVER (Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver) tactical receivers in a range of about 100 miles.

Two AMX of the 51° Stormo. The aircraft carry the RecceLite pod. (Image credit: The Aviationist’s Giovanni Maduli)

The pod can also be carried by the ItAF Tornado IDS and the Eurofighter Typhoon jets: while the Tornados have used the pod in combat not only in Afghanistan, but also in Libya and more recently in Kuwait, the F-2000s are using the RecceLite to support the multinational campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria as part of “Prima Parthica”, as the Italian Armed Forces operation is dubbed at national level, from Ahmed Al Jaber airbase, Kuwait.

The Reccelite pod carried by a Tornado IDS.

It is not the first time Italian attack planes are requested by other national agencies to perform reconnaissance missions: for instance, in the aftermath of the 6.0 earthquake that hit central Italy on Aug. 24, 2016, causing about 300 deaths, ItAF Tornado aircraft of the 6° Stormo from Ghedi, supported the relief operations collecting imagery used to map the damages to Amatrice and the nearby villages.

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.