Tag Archives: Decimomannu

M-346 advanced combat trainer flying with a pair of Sidewinder air-to-air missiles

Taken at Decimomannu airbase last week, the following picture shows an M-346 “Master” advanced combat trainer with two dummy AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles at the wing tip launchers.

Serialled CP X617, the first IPA (Initial Production Aircraft) is involved in a testing campaign which follows the one conducted last April at Decimomannu airbase when the aircraft flew with BRD (Bombs and Rocket Dispencer) for Mk-106s thin-cased cylindrical bombs used to simulate the high-drag (retarded) Mk-82 Snakeye bombs.

The M-346 has been selected by the Italian Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and  the Israeli Air Force that will use the “Master” to replace the A-4 Skyhawks.

[Read also: Here’s the M-346 in Israeli Air Force colors]

Image credit: Gianni Maduli

South Europe’s airbases too busy? U.S. planes on OEF rotation, NATO AWACS change route

With the traditional airbases in Southern Europe filled with drones, special operation aircraft and support planes possibly deployed to the Mediterranean sea in anticipation of a strike in Libya or Northern Mali, U.S. planes going to the Middle East or returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, have been forced to change their typical route from the CONUS and back, lately.

Between Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 18 A-10 Thunderbolt jets belonging to the 355th Fighter Wing from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, after a stopover at Westover Air Force Base, landed at Aviano airbase, in NE Italy on their way to Afghanistan. Even if Aviano in one of the most important airbases in Europe, it’s rarely visited by airplanes deploying to the Middle East.

On Oct. 12, 13 A-10Cs belonging to the 188th Fighter Wing, AR ANG, and 175th FW, MD ANG, made a stopover at Decimomannu airbase, Sardinia, Italy, on their way back from a combat tour in Afghanistan. Whereas Aviano is the permanent base of the 31st Fighter Wing and its two F-16 Squadrons, Decimomannu does not host any American unit. Hence, the use of this airport is at least weird.

Naval Air Station Sigonella, in Sicily, is usually used for such stopovers. However, the base is not only busy with U.S. planes and helicopters deployed there in the aftermath of the Benghazi consulate attack on Sept. 11, but will soon host civil planes moved there from the close Catania Fontanarossa airport (that will be closed for works from Nov. 5 to Dec. 5, 2012).

Not only U.S. combat planes crossing the Pond are using different bases.

Quite surprisingly, on Oct. 17, local spotters saw another unusual plane arriving at Decimomannu for a temporary deployment: a NATO E-3 AWACS. Among those witnessing the arrival of the E-3A, there was also Roberto Zanda, who took the following interesting picture (and all the others you can find in this post).

All images in this post courtesy of Roberto Zanda

Although the reason of the deployment is not clear (and might be not connected to a build-up in the Mediterranean Sea), the NATO Sentry, is an extremely rare sight in Sardinia. In fact, when they are not at the NATO Airborne Early Warning And Control Force E-3A Component’s base at Geilenkirchen, in Germany, such planes normally use one of the FOBs (Forward Operating Base) in Aktion, Greece; Trapani, Italy; and Konya, Turkey.

Thirteen A-10C Warthogs make surprise visit to Decimomannu airbase, Italy, on their way back to the U.S.

On Oct. 12, 13 A-10Cs belonging to the 188th Fighter Wing, AR ANG, and 175th FW, MD ANG, made a stopover at Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy, on their way back from a combat tour in Afghanistan.

The Warthogs of the Air National Guard “Rainbow Team” (meaning it was a detachment made of planes and crews belonging to multiple units) supported Operation Enduring Freedom as part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram, in Afghanistan.

Although it’s one of the most busy airbases in Europe, Decimomannu airbase is seldom visited by transiting aircraft, especially U.S. combat planes on deployment or returning to the U.S.

The reason for this rare visit, which ended on Oct. 14, when the aircraft left to continue their return flight to the CONUS (Continental United States) could be that NAS (Naval Air Station) Sigonella, in Sicily, a more common stopover, is currently overcrowded with U.S. planes supporting (covert) ops in North Africa and drones.


Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis

Phabulous Phantom Photo: F-4 fighter jet’s romantic take off into a rainbow

Taken few hours ago at Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, by Gian Luca Onnis, the following picture shows a German Air Force F-4 Phantom with the Jadgdeschwader (JG) 71 “Richthofen”, taking off into a rainbow, shortly after a thunderstorm.

The JG-71, from Wittmund, is Germany’s last F-4 operational squadron and the sortie on Oct. 1 afternoon was the last one on the Phantom for the squadron’s commander: the change of command ceremony will take place at “Deci” on Oct. 2.

Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis

German Eurofighter Typhoons train in Sardinia to improve air-to-air skills

The following pictures, taken few days ago by The Aviationist’s Giovanni Maduli at Decimomannu airbase, Italy, show the German Eurofighter Typhoons of the Jagdgeschwader 73 (Fighter Wing 73) “Steinhoff” during their “summer training camp” in the Sardinia’s ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Installation) ranges.

The German Air Force single and double seat F-2000s are involved in air-to-air training sorties that involve BAE Systems’ A-4Ns as well as GFD’s Learjet 35 target tugs.

The Luftwaffe’s Typhoon performed very well in the air defense role during the recent Red Flag Alaska, where four Eurofighters are believed to have accounted for 16 simulated kills from 18 simulated missile shots on one sortie.

“Yesterday we had Raptor salad for lunch” a  German Typhoon pilot said after dogfighting with the F-22 at Red Flag Alaska.

During the RF-A, in one German-led DCA (Defensive Conter Air) mission, the friendly force achieved a record score of 38:1; 38 planes shot down, one lost.