Four Italian F-2000s have deployed to Gando: 1,800 miles from their homebase without logistic support. A first for Italian Air Force tactical aircraft.
From Oct. 18 to 21, four Eurofighter Typhoon jets, belonging to the 18° Gruppo (Squadron), 37° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force, from Trapani airbase, have deployed to Gando Air Base, in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, to undertake cooperative activity with the Spanish Air Force within the framework of EAG (European Air Group).
The F-2000As (as the aircraft are designated in accordance with the Italian Mission Design Series) were supported along the 1,800-nautical mile journey to Gando by a KC-767A tanker with the 14° Stormo from Pratica di Mare that refueled the Typhoons during the 4.5 hours of flight: it was the first time ItAF tactical jets deployed so far from home without accompanying technical support.
Once in the Canaries, the Italian aircraft undertook DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) with the Spanish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets in anticipation of a possible participation in DACT 2017 exercise in Gando next year.
Reportedly, this is what happened during SIAF (Slovak International Air Fest) at Sliac, Slovakia, on Aug. 29, the departures day, when a German Eurofighter Typhoon was forced to perform an emergency landing using the runway’s arresting system due to a hydraulic issue shortly after take-off.
Land-based military airfields operating combat jets use arresting gear systems to slow the aircraft down. There are three basic types of land-based systems: permanent, expeditionary, and overrun gear.
Expeditionary systems are similar to permanent ones and are used for landing aircraft on short or temporary runways. These can be installed and uninstalled in a few hours.
Overrun gear consisting of hook cables and/or elastic nets known as barriers (or Safeland) and are used as a backup system. These are usually installed at the end of the runway and raised if needed to catch the planes before they reach the overrun area.
By the way, emergency landing aside (that you can see in the clip starting at 02:47), the following footage is pretty cool!
Two such nuclear-capable bombers, flying in international airspace, were intercepted and escorted by RAF Typhoons in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) during a long-range sortie on Sept. 22.
Two RAF Typhoons at RAF Lossiemouth (callsign Y5R11 and Y5R12) were launched to intercept and escort the Blackjacks as they “skirted” the British Isles heading southwest. The interceptors were supported by a Voyager tanker launched from RAF Brize Norton and E-3D AWACS from RAF Waddington. The “Lossie” Typhoons handed over the two “zombies” to the southern QRA from RAF Coningsby.
It’s not clear where the Tu-160s flew after they flew close to the British Isles but they were probably taken on charge by other interceptors scrambled from nearby NATO countries.
After 56 years, the German Air Force is leaving Decimomannu. Typhoons from Norvenich deployed there for what is probably the very last use of the Italian training facilities by Luftwaffe since 1960.
A dozen German Eurofighter Typhoons, including a couple of two-seaters, deployed to Decimomannu airbase, Italy, at the end of August for what is probably the last use of the German facilities in Sardinia, since the first detachment 56 years ago.
The aircraft, belonging to the TaktLwG 31 “Boelcke” were accompanied by 300 military and civilian employees, and around 60 tons of material in 16 containers flown from Germany by C-160 and A400M airlifters.
During their deployment to “Deci” (as the Sardinian airbase is dubbed) the air combat training of the German Typhoons, that launched as many as 20 daily sorties in the ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Installation) ranges, was supported by a Learjet, a target plane that acts as an electronic jammer operated by the “Gesellschaft für Flugzieldarstellung” (GFD), a civilian company cooperating with the German Air Force for air targeting exercises; and two A-4N Skyhawk of the Discovery Air Defense, a Canadian company that provides, among the others, target towing and “aggressors” services to the Luftwaffe.
The A-4Ns are usually based at Wittmund, homebase of the Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 71 “Richthofen” whose famous red “R” emblem appears on the tail of one of the Skyhawks.
Noteworthy, among the EF2000 Typhoons that TLG 31 deployed to Deci there was also a single seater in special color scheme: the 31+31 “Spirit of Oswald Boelke” that celebrates the 125th anniversary of Oswald Boelke, a German flying ace of the WWI.
The German Air Force is expected to leave Decimomannu by Dec. 31, 2016. Rumors of some 2-week deployments of other Luftwaffe units have not been confirmed yet.
The Taktische Luftwaffengeschwader 31 Eurofighters will leave Deci on Sept. 15, to be followed by the rest of the personnel on Sept. 16.
The images in this post were taken by Alessandro Caglieri and Gian Luca Onnis.
Here’s what a high performance take off from the backseat of one of the world’s most advanced fighters looks like.
On Jan. 28, I had the opportunity to experience the thrill of a 4 vs 3 supersonic training mission of the 9th Gruppo (Squadron) of the Italian Air Force, from the backseat of a Eurofighter Typhoon of the 4th Stormo (Wing) based at Grosseto.
The mission was the final FCR (Full Combat Readiness) check for two pilots of the Squadron and included several scenarios, including BVR (Beyond Visual Range) intercepts, VIDs (Visual Identifications) of the “bogeys”, and some cool old-fashioned WVR (Within Visual Range) air combat.
Flying with Federico, the Commander of the 9th Gruppo, aboard the TF-2000A MM55132/“4-35” of the 9th Gruppo, I was part of the “Red Air,” a flight of three Typhoons that emulated the flying profile and tactics of the “super-maneuverable” Su-30 Flanker.
The mission, a 4 vs 3, was particularly long and demanding, with engagements past M1.0 up to FL460. However, one of the coolest part (at least for this Author) was the high-performance take-off.
We planned to perform a hi-perf take off followed by a RAT (Radar Assisted Trail) climb up to FL310 for the navigation, southbound, towards D115, the large airspace dedicated to this kind of activities located over the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The following footage show the departure of “Dardo 03” (our callsign for that mission): you’ll see the Typhoon accelerate under full afterburner thrust then reach in less than 10 seconds (in spite of the two full underwing drop tanks) the speed 120 knots and rotate. Immediately after retracting the landing gear Federico pulls the stick until reaching a nose-up pitch attitude of 50 degrees over the horizon that we maintained until we reported FL310 inside the Grosseto CTR (Control Zone): the rate of climb is truly impressive.
I’ll post more footage and photos of this flight, for the moment, enjoy the high-performance take off.