The event was the first one for the base, home of the 6° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force.
In the afternoon on Jun. 21, 2023, Ghedi Air Base, in northern Italy, held the first Spotter Day organized by the 6° Stormo (Wing) of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) to allow aviation enthusiasts and photographers to shoot photos and videos of the local-based F-35A of the 102° Gruppo (Squadron) and Tornado IDS and ECR aircraft of the 154° and 155° Gruppo, as well as one AMX-T and two Eurofighters with the 132° Gruppo of the 51° Stormo, from Istrana Air Base.
In 2022, with the arrival of the first aircraft, the 6° Stormo has become the second Italian Air Force Wing to operate the F-35A; the other one is the 32° Stormo, based at Amendola AB, whose child-unit, the 13° Gruppo (Squadron) has been operating with the 5th generation aircraft since 2016 and achieved IOC (Initial Operational Capability) in 2018.
Among the Tornado squadrons, the 102° Gruppo (for decades, the Tornado OCU – Operational Conversion Unit) was the first to transition to the new F-35A. The 154° Gruppo should also receive the Lightning II aircraft in the future, while the the 155° Gruppo “Black Panthers” will continue to fly the Tornado ECR in the SEAD/DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) role until the type is retired and the mission is taken over by the F-35.
The process will take a few years and, in the meanwhile, joint missions that see the cooperation between F-35s and Tornados, are conducted almost routinely, to facilitate the integration between the 4th and 5th generation assets.
During the Spotter Day, photographers and cameramen were given the opportunity to take photographs and videos of all the assets operating from Ghedi AB as they taxied, launched and recovered. Our contributor Mirco Adami was there and took the images you can find in this post.