‘Grifone 2022’ Multinational Search And Rescue Exercise

Italian Army UH-205 (All images, credit: Alessandro Ganeo and Salvatore Roccella)

Let’s have a look at the latest iteration of “Grifone” SAR exercise series.

Held from Jun. 13 to 17, 2022, in the Apennine area located to the southwest of Piacenza, in northern Italy, “Grifone 2022” was the latest iteration of the international and interdepartmental exercise planned and conducted on an yearly basis by the Italian Air Force with the support of the CNSAS (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico – National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps) under the SAR.MED.OCC (SAR Western Mediterranean) international agreement.

The aim of the “Grifone” (Italian for Griffin) series is to develop synergies between the service and other public departments, and to constantly improve techniques and procedures to carry out Search and Rescue missions.

A rescue team in front of an Italian Air Force HH-139B

For the first time, Piacenza airfield (a former Tornado base) was elected as Deployment Operating Base (DOB) and as Advanced Base Post (PBA – Posto Base Avanzata), hosting a real field heliport that was the center of all the training activities. Overall, 13 aircraft and 450 military and civilian personnel took part in the exercise.

AW169 of the Vigili del Fuoco.

These are the aircraft assets involved: 1x HH-139B of the 15° Stormo (Wing), 1x TH-500 of the 72° Stormo, 1x TH-500 and 1x SIAI-208 of the Milan Linate Liaison Squadron of the Italian Air Force; 1x UH-205 of the 4th Aviation Regiment “Altair” of the Italian Army based at Bolzano; 1x EH-101 of the Sarzana Helicopter Station of the Italian Navy; 1x AW-139 of the 4th Helicopter Nucleus of the Carabinieri (Military Police) based at Pisa; 1x AB-212 of the 3rd Flight Department of the Polizia di Stato (Police) based at Bologna; for 1x AW-169 of the Rimini Air Section and 1x PH-139D of the Aviation Center of the Guardia di Finanza based at Pratica di Mare;  1x AW-139 of the Bologna Flight Department of the Vigili del Fuoco (Firefighters). Finally, 1x CN-235 VIGMA D-4 aircraft and 1x NH-90 helicopter of the Spanish Air Force.

NH-90 of the Spanish Air Force.

At the end of the exercise the aircraft taking part in Grifone had flown 46 training missions logging 44 flight hours.

An AB212 of the Polizia di Stato with an Italian Navy EH-101 in the background during Ex. Grifone 2022

The land rescue teams were mainly provided by the Alpine and Speleological Rescue – Emilia-Romagna Regional Service – together with specialized teams of the Air Force, the Italian Army, the Guardia di Finanza and the Voluntary Nurses of the Italian Red Cross.

UH-139D of the Carabinieri.

The photos that you can find in this post, showing some of the most interesting assets taking part in Grifone 2022, were taken during the exercise by our correspondents Salvatore Roccella and Alessandro Ganeo.

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.