Tag Archives: Decimomannu

Spring Flag pictures – part 2

More pictures about the first week of the Spring Flag 2008 taken by the correspondent Giovanni Maduli.
To have an idea of the air operations taking place during a SF exercise just think that on Apr 9, between 0600Z and 1122Z 25 missions (46 aircraft) departed from Decimomannu airbase for the morning sorties.

Spring Flag 2008 pictures

The air operations taking place during the first week of Exercise Spring Flag 2008 are shown in the following pictures that the reporter Giovanni Maduli took in Decimomannu airbase. Noteworthy, the intense flying activity of the German Air Force detachment (8th week of TDY) and the images of the G.222VS used for ELINT and SIGINT missions.
One of the most interesting scenario of the first week of the SF08 was a simulated CASEVAC (Casualties Evacuation) launched on Apr 8 to rescue 4 people (2 journalists, 1 member of the international cooperation and 1 embassy officer) that had been wounded by an explosion. The medical team was carried by a HH-3F escorted by two A-129 of the Esercito Italiano (Italian Army) and another HH-3F in CSAR (Combat SAR) configuration. After completing the medical assessment, the injured in worst conditions was transferred by an AB.212ICO to the nearest airbase, to be boarded in a C-130J and moved to the Celio Military Hospital, in Rome. The remaining three injured were examinated using a special cardiological equipment contained in a briefcase of the Foreign Affairs Ministry while health care service was provided by means of a sophisticated Telemedicine device that broadcasted diagnostic images for examination to the medical team located in the Celio Hospital. In order to train personnel that is asked to manage communication crisis, a simulated Press Conference attended via videoconference by the Ambassador, the Coalition spokesman and the Chief of the Crisis Unit of the Foreign Affair Ministry.

Italian B707 last operative flight

On Apr. 3, the last of 4 Italian Air Force B.707TT of the 8th Gruppo made its last operative flight during the build up phase of the Spring Flag Exercise. The aircraft, serialled MM62151, using c/s I-2151 with 67 people on board carried to Decimomannu 4 pallets of material and equipment. 23.000 FH have been flown in the last 16 years all around the World in both air-to-air refueling (AAR) missions and transportation. The aircraft, originally purchased from the TAP airlines, will be replaced by the KC-767A, a military version based on the Boeing 767-200ER version, that the ITAF has bought in 4 examples. The delay in the delivery of the new tanker (initially scheduled to be delivered in 2006) compelled the ItAF to extend the operative life of 2 of its B707 for another 2 years (the other B707s were sold to the Omega Air), with the Boeing company paying for the cost of the maintenance of the aircraft. The KC-767A, that has recently lost the KC-X competition with the KC-30 (based on the Airbus A-330) for replacement of the USAF KC-135 and KC-10, should be delivered to the 14th Stormo at the beginning of the 2009; in the meanwhile the Italian crews will train on a B767 provided by Boeing (an aircraft that hasn’t any AAR capability) that will allow the 8th Gruppo pilots to acquire a basic training on the new type.

In 2004 I flew with the B707 an AAR sortie from Pratica di Mare airbase during Ex. Spring Flag. To read the text and see all the in-flight and ground pictures (including a walkaround) read here: In volo con Agip 25 (B707 report & walkaround)

Spring Flag build-up in progress

From Apr. 1, the aircraft taking part in the Spring Flag 2008 have been arriving in the two Deployable Operating Base (DOB) of the Exercise: Decimomannu is the DOB for the assets that have been assigned to the “coalition party”, while Trapani, in Sicily, is the DOB for all the forces of the “opfor party”, the opponents. This is the list of the partecipating aircraft:

Italian Air Force
4x F2000 4 St
2x F-16 ADF 5 St
3x AB-212ICO 9 St
1x G-222 VS 14 St
2x HH-3F 15 St
5x AMX 32 and 51 St
3x F2000 36 St
6x F-16 ADF 37 St
1x C130J 46 AB
4x MB-339CD 61 St
3x SF-260EA

Italian Army
1x CH47 5° Reggimento “Antares”
2x A129 8° Reggimento “Rigel”

Italian Navy
3x AV-8B I GrupAer

Foreign aircraft
1x E3F FrAF
1x FALCON 20 FRAviation
5x F-16 HAF
2x E-3 NATO
4x F-18 SpAF
5x F-16 TuAF
1x KC-135 USAF

The deployment phase of the Ex. will finish on Apr. 4. The TuAF F-16 will arrive in Deci on Apr. 3.
The scenario of this year’s edition of the major Italian Ex. is obviously theoretical but inspired to all kind of events that already occurred or ar likely to occur in the future: a series of inputs have been created by the DIREX (Direction of the Ex) in order to spur the reaction of the participating units. Anyway, the general scenario has the shape of Peace Support Operations by a “Coalition of the willing” within an area of crisis. The air campaign will be managed by a JFACC (Joint Force Air Component Command) established within the Italian COFA (Comando Operativo Forze Aeree, Air Forces Operative Command) that by means of the DCAOC (Deployable Combined Air Operations Center), deployed to Bari-Palese airport will issue the Air Tasking Orders to both the coalition and opfor parties.

Preparing for the Spring Flag 2008

The Spring Flag (SF) is the Italian Air Force’s most important annual day and night exercise. The main objective of the Exercise, organized and managed by the COFA (Comando Operativo Forze Aeree) in Poggio Renatico (Ferrara), is to verify the capabilities of the Italian (and partecipating) air forces to plan and conduct complex operative missions, on both national or “out of the area” scenarios. The SF focuses not only on COMAO (Combined Air Operations) and TASMO (Tactical Air Support to Maritime Operations) but also on MEDEVAC (MEDical EVACuation) and CASEVAC (CASualties EVACuation) missions, CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) and Special Operations support. The SF was run for the first time by the ItAF in Y2000 to prepare its AMX and Tornado crews to large-scale exercises like US held Green and Red flags (hence the “Flag” name). From an ItAF-only exercise, the SF evolved in a multinational one, attended by National and International Armed Forces and other Italian institutions involved in the security field, such as the Foreign Affair Ministry and Italian Red Cross. Command and Control functions in a typical Peace Support Operation are provided by a Joint Force Air Component Command (JFACC), activated at Poggio Renatico within the COFA and a Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Bari Palese, while partecipating aircraft operate from both Deployable Operative Bases (DOB) and other airports, in either Italy or abroad. One of the DOB designated for the SF is Decimomannu airbase (the other one is Trapani). “Deci” is one of the most important Italian airbases: home of the ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Installation), the base is located a few miles to the NNW of Cagliari, in a strategical position next to the various the various ranges (Capo Teulada, Capo Frasca or Perdasdefogu, home of the PISQ, the Poligono Interforze del Salto di Quirra) where Italian and foreign armed forces train in air-to-ground and air-to-air activities. Spring Flag 08

In preparation for the next Spring Flag, that will take place from Apr 1 to Apr 18 (for full details, media opportunities and the list of partecipating units, visit the ItAF website at the following address: http://stampa.aeronautica.difesa.it/sf2008/), in February, the 21st Gruppo of the 9th Stormo undertook a firing campaign in the Sardinian ranges, deploying to Decimomannu airbase. The 21st Gruppo has been operating in support of ISAF from April 22nd 2006 and has already completed 2 deployments in theatre, so it is a deployable squadron whose partecipation to the SF 08 is important to verify its expedictionary and operative capabilities and its interoperability with other air and ground unit. The following pictures were taken by Lt. Roberto Grasso, a pilot of the 21° Gruppo, during the air-to-ground and self-defense training activities of the AB.212ICO in the Sardinian ranges.