Tag Archives: Eurofighter Typhoon

Typhoons over the Negev: the Italian Air Force and the Israeli Air Force in Exercise "Desert Dusk"

Updated Dec. 25 10.30 GMT

From Dec. 5 to 15, Tornado ECR of the 50° Stormo and Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon of the 4° and 36° Stormo of the Italian Air Force deployed to Uvda airbase, in Israel, for the Exercise “Desert Dusk”, a small-scale joint exercise with the Israeli Air Force involving 25 planes.

During their 2-week stay, the Italian fighters that have taken part to the Operation Unified Protector in Libya (the ECR as a SEAD asset, the Typhoon flying both in the air defense and in the air-to-surface role – the latter flown only by RAF planes), accompanied by 150 military, launched 100 sorties, including some COMAOs (Composite Air Operations), that gave the Italian pilots (and for the very first time, the Typhoon fleet, that had not taken part to the first deployment in Israel in 2010) to train in high-lethality scenarios, testing the capabilities of the squadrons to deploy “out-of-area” with the support of the KC-767A and the C-130J.

These exercises allow crews to refine procedures and techniques and develop procedural standards that are extremely important to operate in Crisis Support Operations launched in an international cooperation framework.

According to the news release published on the IAF website, during the first week, the Italian flew an exercise with the 115 Sqn “Flying Dragon”, equipped with F-16A “Netz” which specializes in enemy simulation and in the second, they were joined by the 69 Sqn “Hammers”  from “Hatzerim” airbase equipped with F-15I “Ra’am” and the110 Sqn “Knights of the North” from “Ramat-David” airbase flying the F-16C “Barak”.

The “Desert Dusk” came few weeks after the Israeli Air Force F-16s deployed to Decimomannu, in Sardinia, for the Exercise Vega 2011, and in a period of growing tension in the area, caused by the capture in Iran of a U.S. stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone involved in a spy mission on the Iranian nuke program.

Actually, the news of the first Typhoon deployment in Israel came in the same days Eurofigher lost the F-X competition in Japan where the MoD announced the decision to purchase the much troubled and costly Lockheed Martin F-35 as next generation fighter plane for the JASDF. Once again (as in Swiss fighter competition won by the Gripen), a political choice rather than a decision based on merit /capability to meet requirements.

Below you can find some images of the exercise published on the IAF website. Many more interesting pictures can be found here.

Image credit: Israeli Air Force website

Winter Hide 2011 at Grosseto

After publishing the first images of the RDAF (Royal Danish Air Force) F-16s deploying to Grosseto in a previous article, on Feb. 7, 2011, I visited Grosseto airbase to see the Danish F-16AM and BM MLU (Mid-Life Update) of the Esk 727 and 730 from Skrydstrup operating with the Eurofighter Typhoons (both F-2000A and TF-2000A, according to the Italian Mission Design Series) of the local-based 4° Stormo.

The RDAF detachment (100 military) is currently hosted in the north part of the airport, where the WH11 liaison cell is also settled. The 11 aircraft are parked in the apron in front of the Hangar 3 of the GEA (Gruppo Efficienza Aeromobili), west of the RWY21 threshold.

The MLUs of the Fighter Wing Skrydstrup are multi-role fighters assigned to the Nato High Readiness Force (HRF) hence they are flying different types of training sorties: air-to-air (mainly with the Italian F-2000s); air-to-ground (with Danish and Italian ground forces), flying low-level in Central Italy; and also COMAOs (Combined Air Operations) like those conducted in the operational areas east of Sardinia with the 48FW F-15E of the 494th FS deployed to Decimomannu until Feb. 4.

Usually two waves are scheduled each day: at 10:45LT and 14:15LT. A third one is planned a couple of days a week for night flying (with departures at around 17:15LT).

Most of the aircraft deployed to Grosseto carry the LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night) and the AIM-9X coupled with the JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System). Noteworthy, lthe Danish MLUs are equipped with a search light, mounted on the port side of the fuselage beneath the canopy, used for the identification during interception at night, much similar to that of the Italian F-16 ADF.

Below are some pictures of the detachment, that will last until Feb. 11, 2011, when the F-16s are due to return to their homebase.

Wittmund: home of the last GAF Phantoms

Located in the northern part of Germany, Wittmundhafen (or Wittmund) is the homebase of the Jagdgeschwader 71 (JG71) equipped with the McDonnell Douglas F-4F Phantom. The unit, that made its last detachment in Decimomannu last Sept. (read: Ciao German Phantoms!) and is named “Richthofen” after the WWI German ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the “Red Baron”, is the last German wing equipped with the F-4s, since the Luftwaffe is in the process of replace the “Rhinos” with the Eurofighter Typhoon. Being scheduled for 2011 the withdrawal of the type from service, Giovanni Maduli went to Wittmund to report about the operations of the last German Phantoms.
Here’s a preview of the report. All the images are available here: http://lowpassage.com/2010/12/28/wittmund/