Tag Archives: Italian Air Force

Get up close and personal with one of the coolest special colored Tornado ever with this cool video

An excellent clip shows the Special Color Tornado IDS rolled out last year by the Italian Air Force.

On Oct. 27, 2016 the RSV (Reparto Sperimentale Volo), the Italian Air Force Test Wing responsible for the development, testing and validation of all the flying “hardware” (aircraft, sensors, weapons, etc.) based at Pratica di Mare, near Rome, rolled out a Tornado IDS sporting a special color scheme.

The new livery applied to the “Tonka” serialled CSX 7041, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the 311° Gruppo (Squadron) the unit responsible of the aerial displays of all the ItAF aircraft at the airshows in Italy and abroad and one of the world’s most advanced aerospace testing and experimental centers.

The paint job was designed and applied by Drudi Performance, the company founded by Aldo Drudi, who designs helmets and leathers for Valentino Rossi and many other racers.

The aircraft, officially presented on Oct. 27, 2016 during a ceremony held at Pratica di Mare airbase, has since then become quite famous: a couple of scale models (including a die-cast version and the brand new 1/48 kit) have been produced by the Italian manufacturer of models Italeri.

The following video shows the making, roll-out and flying of the “311° Gruppo-special.”





This is probably the last Italian Tornado ECR to wear the old fashioned camouflage color scheme

One of the last Italian tactical aircraft to wear a “camo” scheme is this Tornado ECR used by Leonardo for testing activities.

Taken by our contributor Alessandro Caglieri at Decimomannu airbase recently, the photo in this post shows a really rare aircraft: most probably (as there is someone who believes there might be another one, an IDS, not in airworthy conditions though) the only Italian Tornado still wearing a camouflage livery.

The aircraft, an ECR with serial MM7079, operated by Leonardo company, has deployed to “Deci”, where the Italian aerospace industry maintains a permanent detachment, to undertake some unknown tests on Mar. 15, 2017.

As almost all the NATO combat planes (special colors aside) have turned to overall grey low visibility color schemes, the cool, flamboyant and old fashioned camouflaged liveries have become a rarity…

Image credit: Alessandro Caglieri



Here are the first photographs of the Italian Typhoons arriving in Iceland to provide NATO Air Policing duties

The Italian Typhoons have arrived in Keflavik.

On Mar. 17, supported by two KC-767A tanker of the 14° Stormo (Wing) from Pratica di Mare airbase, six Italian Air Force Typhoons have arrived in Iceland to undertake QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) and NATO Air Policing duties.

The Eurofighter F-2000A jets (this is the designation of the single-seaters in accordance with the Italian Mission Design Seies) belong to the three units that operate the Typhoon: the 4° Stormo, from Grosseto; the 36° Stormo, from Gioia del Colle; and the 37° Stormo, from Trapani.

A Typhoon of the 18° Gruppo sporting the typical checkered tail.

An F-2000A from the Gioia del Colle-based 36° Stormo. Two Gruppi depend from this Wing: the 10 and 12° Gruppo.

The aircraft will operate until mid-April as part of a Task Force where personnel and equipment are completely integrated and interchangeable thanks to fully standardized procedures and training.

The images in this post were taken by photographer Eggert Norðdahl as the Typhoons arrived at Keflavik airbase for their second tour of duty in Iceland: in June 2013, as part of Operation “Icy Skies”, six Italian Eurofighters securing the airspace on the ally in the “High North.”

One of the Typhoons of the 4° Stormo. The Italians deployed to Iceland with three drop tanks, one AIM-120 AMRAAM and one IRIS-T air-to-air missile.

Image credit: Eggert Norðdahl


A fighter pilot joins The Aviationist’s team: welcome on board “Gonzo”!

We have a new writer. A Fighter Jock, an Instructor Pilot, an Aggressor, with 3,000 flying hours and actual combat experience. Be ready for some really cool stories.

I met Alessandro “Gonzo” Olivares for the first time two years ago, at Lecce airbase. He was the Commander of the 212° Gruppo (Squadron), the first Italian Air Force Squadron to receive the world’s most advanced jet trainer, and one of the very first and few IPs (Instructor Pilots) on the M-346 “Master” (T-346A according to the Italian designation).

I had the unbelievable opportunity to become the very first journalist to fly in an ItAF Master and “Gonzo” sit in the front seat during a memorable training mission during which I discovered how modern LIFT (Lead-In Fighter Training) prepares young pilots for 4+ and 5 gen. aircraft. During that mission, not only did Alessandro (or “Alex” as he’s often dubbed by his friends) demonstrate to own the skills needed to teach other pilots how to fly and fight in a modern combat plane but he also proved to have an outstanding ability to transfer knowledge to other aviation geeks. Needless to say, we became friends and I immediately thought he could be a perfect addition to our editorial team.

“Gonzo” has about 3,000 FH. He has taken part in real operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya flying the Tornado.

Alex has some 3,000 FH. He’s flown the Tornado in the fighter bomber role for more than a decade, becoming also a “Tonka” IP, taking part in several exercises such the Red Flag, the Alaskan Flag, the Joint Maritime Course, the Anatolian Eagle and the TLP (Tactical Leadership Programme) that he’s attended also as part of the Aggressors team with the T-346.

He has taken part in real operations as well, flying over Kosovo and Afghanistan, and over Libya during the 2011’s Air War.

“I was lucky enough to fly high-performance aircraft, to take part in real operations and, above all, to train other pilots on the Tornado as an OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) IP and, later in my career, on the futuristic T-346 trainer.”

Alex during a mock dogfight. Notice The Aviationist patch on his shoulder!

As you may imagine, with such a background, “Gonzo” brings some really unique know-how to this site.

“I was a long time reader of The Aviationist, one of the world’s most read and reputable military aviation blogs. But I didn’t think I would ever become part of the team! For sure, it all started once I met David at Lecce: I was struck by his competency  and, in a matter of a few hours, I forgot he was a journalist and talked to him as I did with my colleagues and soon discovered that we shared the same passion. And now I’m here to share my stories and experience with the readers of The Aviationist from all around the world.”

In his spare time, Alex loves skiing, mountain bike riding, scuba diving, sailing and cooking.

Please join me in welcoming Alessandro “Gonzo” Olivares to The Aviationist and wishing him every success in his new role as a writer.

The Author and Alessandro Olivares after the flight aboard the T-346 Master in April 2015.



Six Italian Typhoons are deploying to Keflavik to support NATO’s Iceland Air Policing Mission

The Italian Eurofighter Typhoons are deploying to Iceland to provide Iceland’s air defense duties.

From Mar. 16 to mid-April 2017, a detachment of six Eurofighter Typhoons belonging to all the Italian Air Force units that operate the Euro-canard aircraft will be based at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, to support NATO’s mission that provide Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to meet the Northern European country’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs.

NATO has rotated fighter jets to Iceland since 2008, in an effort to provide QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties while strengthening cooperation between allied air arms with Iceland’s air surveillance integrated into NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence System. Three times a year, allied combat planes operate over Iceland for several weeks “to ensure the Alliance can conduct full-scale peacetime air policing with minimum delay if required by real world events.”

This is the second time the Italian Air Force sends its Typhoons to Iceland: in June 2013, as part of Operation “Icy Skies”, Italian Eurofighters with 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wings) deployed to Keflavik along with support personnel as well as air defense controllers from GRCDA (Air Surveillance Squadron), 21st and 22nd Radar Squadron, respectively, based in Poggio Renatico (Ferrara), Poggio Ballone (Grosseto)  e Licola (Naples), that provided reporting and control services and airspace surveillance services within the Iceland AOR (Area Of Responsibility).

“We operate in many areas to mitigate threats and prevent risks,” said the Italian MoD Roberta Pinotti, in a statement on Rome’s participation in international missions. “We have to provide our contribution to make this world more peaceful.”

The Italian Air Force, provides air policing of Slovenia and Albania airspaces, and has supported BAP (Baltic Air Patrol) mission in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the first half of 2015.

Image credit: Iolanda Frisina