Four U.S. Marine Hornets Repositioned From Poland To Italy

F/A-18C Aviano
WS-406 about to land at Aviano AB on Aug. 1, 2022. (All images, credit: Claudio Tramontin)

The four Legacy Hornets are from a U.S. Marine Corps contingent deployed to Europe since June.

On Aug. 1, 2022, four U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C, assigned to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 (VMFA-323) “Death Rattlers”, from MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar, California, landed at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

The aircraft had arrived in Europe on Jun. 8 as part of two 5-ship flights: one made a stopover in Scotland, at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, whereas the other one landed at Keflavik International Airport, Iceland. Following a two-night stay at their respective locations, the 10 Legacy Hornets flew the final leg of their ferry flight on June 10, landing at Łask Air Base, Poland.

The formation at the overhead break.

Now, four of the F/A-18Cs have been moved to Aviano AB, Italy, where they are going to operate for a few weeks. It’s not clear whether the remaining Hornets will join them and when. Someone suggested the repositioning was carried out in response to the growing tensions between Serbia and Kosovo in the Balkans, while others simply believe the move was needed to make room to the dozen F-22 Raptors that the U.S. decided to deploy to Poland to enhance the Air Shielding along the eastern flank of NATO.


Anyway, the aircraft involved in the mini-deployment to Aviano AB are, at least for the moment, the following ones: 164703/WS-403; 165213/WS-405; 165215/WS-406; 165217/WS-412.

Interestingly, the F/A-18Cs arrived in Italy carrying four fuel tanks, the Litening pod on the centerline pylon underneath the fuselage and live AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder AAMs (Air-to Air Missiles).
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.