Rare Images Of Italian Typhoons Flying Close Air Support Training Missions with U.S. Marines JTACs In Kuwait Emerge

An Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon maneuvers during a joint close air support exercise with U.S. Marines attached to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, and service members with the Italian Air Force in Kuwait, Oct. 14, 2019. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC works with partner nations on maintaining regional security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)

The Italian F-2000s are deployed to Kuwait to support the anti-Daesh mission in Iraq and Syria.

Four Italian Air Force F-2000A jets are currently deployed to Ahmed Al Jaber airbase, Kuwait, in support of 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).

The aircraft operate as part of the Task Group Typhoon that has replaced the Task Group Black Cats (equipped with AMX A-11 Ghibli) aircraft within the Italian Nation Contingent Comand Air/Task Force Air Kuwait since Mar. 26, 2019.

The Typhoons, that carry out Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance tasks, carrying the RecceLite II pod, have achieved 1,000 FH (flight hours) on Oct. 13, 2019, flying reconnaissance missions on about 3,500 points of interest.

Official figures aside, little is known about the activity the Italians carry out in theater. For this reason, it is at least worth of note the fact that some images were recently published by the U.S. DVIDS network, showing the ItAF F-2000As flying CAS missions in cooperation with the U.S. Marine Corps.

They show at least two Typhoons (based on the aircraft markings shown in the photos) flying at low altitude over an unspecified range in Kuwait during an exercise with U.S. Marines attached to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, and service members with the Italian Air Force on Oct. 14, 2019.

An Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon maneuvers during a joint close air support exercise with U.S. Marines attached to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, and service members with the Italian Air Force in Kuwait, Oct. 14, 2019. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC works with partner nations on maintaining regional security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)

At least one image discloses the presence of the RecceLite pod under the fuselage of the Typhoon: this should be the standard configuration of the F-2000 for reconnaissance missions in support of the anti-Daesh coalition.

The Rafael Reccelite reconnaissance pod, integrated on the Typhoon since 2015, is the Italian Air Force’s tactical pod of choice to carry out ISR missions: the it 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. 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.

The pod can also be carried by the Italian Tornado IDS jet.

Although it’s not clear whether the aircraft dropped (inert) bombs during the joint drills, they surely worked closely with U.S. Marine joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) attached to the SPMAGTF-CR-CC 19.2.

An Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon maneuvers during a joint close air support exercise with U.S. Marines attached to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, and service members with the Italian Air Force in Kuwait, Oct. 14, 2019. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC works with partner nations on maintaining regional security. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)

The Italian Typhoons took part in the CAS exercise with the U.S. Marine Corps in Kuwait also on Oct. 21, 2019.

Here’s what this Author wrote about the Italian Typhoon’s multirole experience recently:

As you may remember, the Italians have started exploring the multirole capabilities of the Typhoons just recently: the ItAF Typhoon started the Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E) in the air-to-ground role in 2015. “Air superiority remains our primary mission,” told us Col. Enrico Pederzolli, then commander of 4° Stormo (Wing), in an exclusive interview. “However, last year, using the software releases that embed a significant air-to-surface potential we have started flying Swing Role missions with the aim to get a limited secondary air-to-ground capability.” Back then, the Italian Air Force did not plan to employ the Typhoon is the air-to-surface role except in particular scenarios: the swing role was being primarily developed to support the platform’s export capabilities and help the industry promoting the aircraft in particular regions. The deployment in support of OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve) in Syria and Iraq, marks a significant evolution for the Italian Typhoons that brings increased maneuverability, speed and operational ceiling to the theater.



About David Cenciotti 3888 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.