Tag Archives: Italian Air Force

We took part to an Air-to-Air Refueling mission on board a Boeing KC-767 during Ex. Star Vega

Star-Vega 2013 is the name of the largest Italian exercise scheduled in 2013.

Taking place between May 13 and 24, the Star-Vega is a joint ex. that sees the participation of all the Italian Air Force assets as well as units of the Navy, Army and a NATO E-3 AWACS from Geilenkirchen.

Star Vega 2013 - Volo Tanker 767 Pratica di Mare 11 (1024)

Five airbases are involved in the exercise: the Main Operating Bases of Decimomannu and Trapani, were the tactical planes are based; Pisa, from where the transport aircraft operate; Pratica di Mare, home of the tankers; and Amendola, the Italian UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) base.

Star Vega 2013 - Volo Tanker 767 Pratica di Mare 54 (1024)

The exercise’s scenario is based on the lessons learned during the most recent conflicts, and was designed to minimize the environmental (and financial) impact.

During the drills, The Aviationist was once again invited to take part to a refueling mission aboard one of the four KC-767A tankers of the 14° Stormo.

Star Vega 2013 - Volo Tanker 767 Pratica di Mare 16 (1024)

The KC-767 refueled several Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo, the three Wings of the Aeronautica Militare equipped with the European fighter plane.

Star Vega 2013 - Volo Tanker 767 Pratica di Mare 35 (1024)

The pictures, taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Fucito, not only show the F-2000s plugging into the refueling basket of the Boeing tanker, but also the refueler’s remote vision system and the Typhoon pilots adveniristic helmet.

Star Vega 2013 - Volo Tanker 767 Pratica di Mare 72 (1024)

Star Vega 2013 - Volo Tanker 767 Pratica di Mare 50 (1024)

Image credit: The Aviationist / Alessandro Fucito

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RAF Typhoon fighter jets refueled by Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767A tanker on their way to LIMA 2013

Four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets belonging to the UK’s Royal Air Force deployed to Malaysia (where they took part to LIMA – Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition) last week thanks to the support provided by the Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767A, the new aerial refueler on which the future U.S. KC-46 tanker is based.

An Italian 767, belonging to the 14° Stormo, deployed from Pratica di Mare airbase to Leuchars and then flew alongside the four British combat planes on their route to Malaysia via Akrotiri (Cyprus), Bahrain and Sri Lanka.

The RAF Typhoon jets of the 1 Sqn took their fuel from the two wing station, plugging their IFR (In Flight Refueling) probes in the baskets of the tanker’s hose and drogue system.

Interestingly, on the first and longest leg of the ferry flight the Italian KC-767A was supported by another aircraft of the same type that refueled it mid-air using the flying boom “piloted” by the “boomer” by means of an adveniristic Remote Vision System.

KC-767 buddy refueling

Image credit: Italian Air Force



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All Italian Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon units simultaneously deployed to Decimomannu

Eurofighter Typhoons, belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wing), the Italian Air Force units equipped with the European fighter jet recently deployed to Decimomannu to undertake air-to-air combat training.

The Typhoon currently equips the 9° Gruppo (Squadron) and 20° OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) of the 4° Stormo at Grosseto, the 10° and 12° Gruppo of the 36° Stormo at Gioia del Colle and the 18° Gruppo of the 37° Stormo at Trapani.

Deci Typhoons 5

Considered that the 18° Gruppo, from Trapani airbase, was the last squadron to be equipped with the Typhoon, previously flying U.S. F-16s, this is the very first time that F-2000s (that’s the designation used by the Aeronautica Militare) belonging to three different Wings are simultaneously deployed to “Deci” for joint ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Installation) drills.

It’s also safe to believe that some Instructor Pilots of the OCU accompanied the front-line fighter pilots in Sardinia, making the deployment the first to feature not only all the Wings but also all ItAF squadrons flying the Typhoon.

Deci Typhoons 2

Noteworthy, one of the aircraft involved in the deployment suffered a landing incident on Mar. 1, 2013.

Deci Typhoons 3

Gian Luca Onnis took the interesting pictures of the Typhoons operating from Decimomannu airbase that you can find in this post, including that of a 18° Gruppo F-2000A with the traditional checkered tail.

Deci Typhoons 6

Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis

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[Photo Gallery] Typhoons and F-16s at the Winter Hide 2013 exercise

The following images were taken at Grosseto airbase, by The Aviationist’s photographers Giovanni Maduli and Alex Fucito.

They show Royal Danish Air Force F-16s, belonging to the Esk 730 from Skrydstrup, and Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons, of the local based 4° Stormo (Wing), training together during the “Winter Hide 2013″ exercise. This is the second time the Danish have brought their jets to Italy to train in the mild Italian climate dogfighting with the Typhoon, one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets.

More information about Winter Hide exercise can be found here.

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Mali Air War: Aerial Refueling Operations

Although it’s in French language, the following video released by the French MoD is quite interesting as it shows the FAF C-135FR refueling ops from N’Djamena, Chad.

The French tanker are quite similar to the U.S. KC-135s. Still, the refueling boom is attached to a basket since FAF planes use the hose and drogue system and get the fuel through a probe.

The footage lets you see the Mirage 2000s and Rafale Air supporting Operation Serval being refueled on their way to the target area in northern Mali.

Mirage 2000 refuel

As happened in Libya, the Mali Air War is suffering from tanker shortage. Even if only a few combat planes are involved in the air strikes, the French Air Force is not equipped with a tanker force capable to sustain a limited amount of attack sorties.

That’s why the U.S. has dispatched some of its KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall and other nations have offered aerial refuelers.

The Italian Air Force has qualified both the French Mirage 2000, Mirage F1CR and Rafale jets as receivers for its Boeing KC-767 during a certification campaign at Mont-de-Marsan: the brand new tanker can now be dispatched to West Africa to support the French air campaign against rebels.

KC-767 qual campaign

Image credit: FAF

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