The “Elephant Walk” was carried out to validate the 36th Wing’s ability to generate multiple Typhoon missions.
On Jun. 25, 2020, the 36° Stormo of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force – ItAF) successfully completed a Wing exercise that involved 12x F-2000 (as the Eurofighter Typhoon is designated in Italian service) as well as 1x KC-130J of the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) from Pisa, and a G.550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft belonging to the 14° Stormo, from Pratica di Mare.
The Typhoons flew composite operations flying in air-to-air, air-to-surface and swing-role configurations, supported by a team of JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the 16° Stormo. The KC-130J allowed the assets to extend their time “on station” while the CAEW provided Air Space Control and Management and Airborne Early Warning.
As part of the readiness exercise, 11 F-2000s took part in the first ever “Elephant Walk” of the Italian Air Force at least in the last decades: based on our records, in the past, some sort of close-interval-taxi exercises were carried out by C-119 Flying Boxcars.
During Elephant Walk exercises military aircraft (sometimes fully armed – at least with inert weapons) taxi in close formation or in sequence right before a minimum interval takeoff and, depending on the purpose of the training event, then they either take off or taxi back to the apron. Quite rare until a few years ago (and limited to the U.S. units in the Korean peninsula) such “shows of force” have become increasingly popular both at American air bases in CONUS and abroad, as well as among foreign air arms. For instance, we have recently reported about the first Elephant Walk at Aviano AB, in northeastern Italy.