Tag Archives: Decimomannu

Eurofighters invade Sardinia: 40 Austrian, German and Italian Typhoons at Decimomannu

More than 40 Typhoons belonging to three European Air Forces have deployed to Decimomannu airbase in the last few weeks to take advantage of the local ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Installation) ranges.

Since mid June, more than 40 Eurofighter Typhoons belonging to the German, Italian and Austrian Air Force have deployed to Decimomannu airbase, in Italy, to undertake training activities in the large training ranges surrounding Sardinia island.

Typhoon take off

Decimomannu is the home of the AWTI (Air Weapons Training Installation) established 55 years ago by the NATO partnership of Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Canada. The AWTI exploits an ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation) range where air-to-air missions and DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) are remotely monitored and recorded, and an air-to-ground bombing range at Capo Frasca, where pilots can train dropping both dumb and smart weaponry.

GAF Typhoon take off

Currently, the base is mainly used by the aircraft belonging to the Italian and German Air Force but it often hosts aircraft of other air forces involved in training campaigns and multinational exercises.

Two seat Typhoon take off

From Jun. 12 to 26 the Luftwaffe deployed 23 Typhoons (including four two-seaters) from Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 73 “Steinhoff” from Laage. Some 8 Typhoons are still operating from “Deci.”

GAF Typhoon landing

Along with the GAF Typhoons, BAE and GFD deployed two A-4 Skyhawks (N431FS white and N262WL camo) and two Learjets (Learjet 31A and Learjet 35A) to support the firing training of the Eurofighters.

Typhoon two seat close up

Flying with the AACMI (Autonomous ACMI) pods, the Germans have conducted Combat Air Patrol, air interception and aerial combat training, operating also with the Italian Typhoons.

Typhoon lineup

From Jun. 12 to Jul. 3, Italian Air Force has deployed 13 Typhoons belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wing) – the units of the Aeronautica Militare equipped with the European fighter jet – to undertake air-to-air combat training.

This was not the first time the Italian Air Force simultaneously deployed all its currently equipped squadrons to Deci: last year the 9° Gruppo (Squadron) and 20° OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) of the 4° Stormo at Grosseto, the 10° and 12° Gruppo of the 36° Stormo at Gioia del Colle and the 18° Gruppo of the 37° Stormo at Trapani took advantage of the ACMI range to improve their skills in the air defense field.

ItAF Typhoon lined up for take off

Five Austrian Typhoons are currently based at Deci. The aircraft, belonging to the Austrian Air Surveillance Wing from Zeltweg, have arrived on Jul. 9.

Austrian Typhoon

The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Caglieri has visited the airbase several times during the last few weeks, taking all the photographs you can find in this post.

Austrian Typhoons landing

All images by Alessandro Caglieri



Italian MB.339CD aircraft with new unit markings

MB.339CD deployed at Decimomannu airbase sports 32° Stormo code and tail badge.

Spotted recently at Decimomannu airbase where it deployed along with several other aircraft of the same type for the annual firing campaign, the MB.339CD MM55088/32-161 is the only known one of the few to carry the codes and badges of the 32° Stormo (Wing), a unit based at Amendola and equipped with the AMX fighter bomber.

Most probably, the aircraft got the markings during a temporary assignment with the 632° Squadriglia Collegamenti (Liaison Flight), depending from the 32° Stormo at Amendola (hence the 32-xx code).

The unique MB.339CD has now returned to the 212° Gruppo (Squadron) with the 61° Stormo from Lecce Galatina airport, and it is taking part to the deployment alongside that Wing’s contingent.

The 339CD is the advanced, digitalised version of the MB.339A trainer. It is used for pre-operative training, as well as for Slow Movers Interception tasks and it is theoretically capable to perform the light attack role.

MB339CD 32 markings right side

Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis


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These images will bring you aboard a rescue chopper during a SAR training mission at sea

Last month, Sardinia Island, Italy, was hit by a tornado, dubbed “Cleopatra” that cost the life of 16 people including 4 children.

Aircraft, helicopters and personnel belonging to all the Italian Armed Forces and Corps joined the relief efforts throughout the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Among the units called to support the rescue operations there was also the 670^ Squadriglia, based at Decimomannu airbase, with its AB-212 helicopter.

AB212 2

The 670^ Squadriglia is tasked with Search And Rescue and its crews daily train to undertake these missions in the mountains or (considered the location of the base on an island), more frequently, at sea.

AB212 3

In Summer 2013, The Aviationist was invited to take part in a training mission in the Gulf of Cagliari. Alessandro Caglieri and Gian Luca Onnis boarded the AB.212 helicopter and shot the images and footage of the helicopter winching ops.



Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis and Alessandro Caglieri

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Eurofighter Typhoon flies with Storm Shadow air-launched Cruise Missiles

Integration of the MBDA Storm Shadow missile onto Eurofighter Typhoon multi-/swing role aircraft has started.

Eurofighter and Alenia Aermacchi have released some images of the initial flight trials that began on Nov. 27, by the Alenia Aermacchi Flight Test Center at Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy. Such tests, supported by BAE Systems and Cassidians, are aimed to demonstrate that the air-launched cruise missile, already in service with both the Italian Air Force and Royal Air Force Tornado bombers (that used them in the 2011 Libya Air War), can be safely carried by the Typhoon.

The testing campaign involves the Instrumented Production Aircraft 2 (IPA2) updated to the Phase 1 Enhancement standard. The aircraft will conduct flutter tests and air data system large store interference assessment to validate the integration of the new weapon that will give the aircraft a significant capability to employ the stealthy, long-range precision weapon against high value, well defended targets, day or night, in all-weather conditions.

According to Eurofighter, the 1.300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt long) will be available to the 7 Typhoon operators (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) from 2015 when the Eurofighter Typhoon Phase 2 Enhancements become operational.

Image credit: Eurofighter/Luigino Caliaro


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Italian Navy AV-8B+ Harrier jump jets air-to-air training

On Jul. 8 the Italian Navy I GrupAer based at Grottaglie, started a new air-to-air training campaign at the AWTI (Air Weapons Training Installation) of Decimomannu airbase, Italy.

During their stay in Sardinia, The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Caglieri visited their detachment and took some interviews that helped him drawing the most detailed picture of the Italian Navy Harriers training conducted at “Deci”.

Harrier in Deci_02

Support and defense of the fleet are the primary role of the AV-8B+ jump jets of the Marina Militare, that can be also tasked with air-to-ground, anti-ship, reconnaissance and identification of naval units missions thanks to the flexibility of the platform.

Harrier in Deci_03

As explained by Chief of Operations and Training Group, as well as Commander of the detached unit, Ten. Vasc. Fabio “Bias” Marzano, the “Wolves” (by the unit’s badge) deployed to the Sardinian airbase to perfom the flying activity required to keep the currencies or get the qualification in the air-to-air role.

Harrier in Deci_05

In order to achieve these goals and to maximize the instructional value of the detachment, pilots conducted a specific training at the simulator that aimed to replicate the sorties flown in the Sardinian ranges.

Harrier in Deci_06

Realism is the foundation of a successful training, that’s why the deployment involved also a team of FCs (Fighter Controllers) and AAWOs (Anti-Air Warfare Officer) coming from the Naval Units of the fleet.

Harrier in Deci_08

Not all pilots taking part in the same deployment get the same kind of training and achieve the same objectives: mission planning is tailored to their experience, qualifications and takes the need to interact with the rest of the staff involved in the detachment.

Harrier in Deci_09

The training activities of the Wolves (either at Decimomannu or at their homebase at Grottaglie) begins with the morning briefing of variable duration depending on the complexity of the mission, during which the different aspects of the operations are assessed and planned.

Harrier in Deci_10

The number of waves can vary, depending on the instructional targets, the availability of the training areas as well as the weather conditions.

Harrier in Deci_11

Typical missions last between 60 and 90 minutes and can involve from 2 to 4 aircraft (from 1 vs 1 to 2 vs 2 scenarios) that engage one another under the control of one or more FCs.

Harrier in Deci_12

Although the activity at Grottaglie ensures the achievement of the whole spectrum of the training goals, pilots and ground crews are regularly deployed to the AWTI in order to optimize the training process through the use of the AACMI (Autonomous Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation).

This complex system consists of a pod, similar to a Sidewinder missile, which transmits flight a parameters to a ground station in real time.

Harrier in Deci

As explained by T.V. Marzano “the contribution provided by a similar training aid in the debriefing phase is priceless.”

Missions can be reviewed on screens in order to have a closer look at each phase of the sortie and become aware of mistakes and things that can be improved.

“An analysis of the flight so detailed that would be impossible to do during a standard debriefing conducted elsewhere.”

In the current scenario, characterized by the need to contain costs while maximizing training results, the Italian Navy finds in the technology available at the AWTI Decimomannu a valuable ally.

Harrier in Deci_14

Indeed, besides the help it provides in training, the AACMI gives the AV-8B+ Harrier jet to engage in mock air-to-air combat without employing ammunition whatsoever: this not only increases safety of air ops due to the absence of weapons but also lowers the overall weight of the aircraft, thus reducing the costs of fuel and the environmental impact on the ranges and surrounding areas.

Based on the Deci base visit by Alessandro Caglieri. All pictures by Alessandro Caglieri.

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