Tag Archives: Exercise

Top Guns over the Canary Islands: DACT 2012 photo report

Between Apr. 16 and 27, Gando airbase, Canary Islands, hosted the annual DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) exercise. Organized by the Spanish Air Force, the 2012 edition was attended by about 40 aircraft, including the local F-18 Hornets of the Ala 46, the Typhoons of the Ala 11 from Moron, the F-18s of the Ala 12 and 15 from Torrejòn and Zaragoza, C101 of the 741 Esc. from Salamanca, and the Spanish Navy EAV-8 Harriers of the Escuadrilla 009, from Rota.

Supported by B707 and KC-130H tanker aircraft, the drill saw the participation of five Mirage 2000C of the EC 02.005, from Orange.

The following pictures were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Tony Lovelock.

Tony Lovelock wishes to thank Gando Base Commander and Alejandro of Fightercommunity.com for making the photo-report possible.

Mini-Drones, SAMP/T, Storm Shadow and a Lotus "Evora" at the Italian Armed Forces Day

The Italian Armed Forces Day exhibition, held each year in Rome inside the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo), always provides an interesting opportunity for a close look at the most interesting equipments of the four Armed Forces [Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), Marina Militare (Italian Navy), Esercito Italiano (Italian Army), and Carabinieri (Military Police)], and of the Italian Armed Corps, as the Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard) and the Guardia di Fin

NATO Tiger Meet 2011: a real exercise with some interesting "hardware" rather than a gathering of friends

Taking place between May 9 and 20 at Cambrai airbase, in northern France, NATO Tiger Meet (NTM11) has been attended by about 60 planes and helicopters belonging to the Austrian, Czech Republic, German, Hellenic, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish, Swiss and Slovak air forces.

From a simple meeting of flying units sharing a Tiger (or feline) emblem, the NTM has become a multi-national mid-size exercise offering a two-week program that includes all types of air-to-air and air-to-ground and a wide variety of support missions, comprising CSAR and large COMAOs. The 2011 edition was to be the biggest ever organised; unfortunately, many units cancelled their participation because of their commitment in “Unified Protector” the NATO led air campaign in Libya.

Nevertheless the NTM lived up expectations with some interesting participants: the F-16 Block 52 of the Polish Air Force’s 6 Sqn from Poznan, equipped with AIM-120, AIM-9X, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) and Sniper pod, at their first appearance at the Tiger Meet; the Spanish Air Force EF-18s carrying the IRIS-T air-to-air missile at wingtips; the Swiss Hornets with AIM-9X coupled to JHMCS.

The ItAF took part to the NTM11 with the 21° Gruppo of the 9° Stormo based at Grazzanise, a Sqn with many Tour of Duty in Afghanistan, whose AB.212ICOs performed CSAR and Combat Recovery missions as well as Special Forces support and Non-Combatant Evacuation operations. As usual, there was also a certain number of eye-catching Special Colours or Tiger markings:  an operational nonsense, since they only increase visibility of the aircraft whose deleterious effects are however mitigated by the fact that future air-to-air scenarios are BVR (Beyond Visual Range) rather than WVR (Within Visual Range), meaning that the enemy will hardly get so close to see the special colour scheme….

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.