51st Wing of The Italian Air Force Carries Out First QRA Shift After 21 Years With The Eurofighter Typhoon

One of the F-2000s of the 132° Gruppo of the Italian Air Force. (Image credit: ItAF)

The F-2000s assigned to the 132° Gruppo (Squadron) of the 51° Stormo (Wing) carry out Quick Reaction Alert duties from Istrana Air Base.

Some 21 years after the last time it carried out the alert service with the F-104S/ASA-M (at the time assigned to the 22° Gruppo), the 51° Stormo of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) has started supporting the SSSA (Servizio Sorveglianza Spazio Aereo – Air Space Surveillance Service) providing QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) with the Eurofighter Typhoon assigned to the 132° Gruppo.

Indeed, as already reported, Eurofighter Typhoons sporting 51-xx codes have started flying with the Squadron belonging to the 51° Stormo (Wing) in November last year.

The first aircraft, coded 51-01, made its public appearance at Istrana, on Sept. 13, 2019, during the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the AMX in Italian Service. As we explained in the article we published back then, a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) cell with Typhoons coming from the other bases (Gioia del Colle, Trapani or Grosseto) was permanently based at Istrana since January 2017. The first three “new” Eurofighters were assigned to a Squadriglia (Flight) – the 252^ Sq. of the 132° Gruppo within which a Typhoon unit was created.

A Typhoon of the 132° Gruppo during the daily training activity at Istrana AB in northeastern Italy. (Image credit: Claudio Tramontin/The Aviationist)

Along with the 132° Gruppo at Istrana, these are the ItAF units flying the Typhoon:

  • 9° Gruppo and 20° Gruppo OCU, with the 4° Stormo at Grosseto AB
  • 10° and 12° Gruppo, with the 36° Stormo at Gioia del Colle AB
  • 18° Gruppo, with the 37° Stormo, at Trapani.

Therefore, until the AMX ACOL aircraft is retired, the 132° Gruppo will operate two fleets: the Eurofighter Typhoon in the Air Defense role, and the AMX, whose main missions are attack, reconnaissance and CAS (Close Air Support).

MM7316/51-01 taking off from Istrana AB. (Image credit: ItAF)

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.