Tag Archives: Italian Air Force

Largest Eurofighter formation ever?

On Sept. 1, Grosseto airbase hosted the hosted the ceremony for the 4° Stormo Change of Command. The new Cdr, Col. Achille Cazzaniga, replaced the former one Col. Vincenzo Nuzzo. The ceremony was attended by the Frecce Tricolori, by one F-16 belonging to 37° Stormo and by Eurofighter Typhoon of both the locally based 9° Gruppo and 20 OCU. The most remarkable part of the ceremony was the flypast performed by a formation of 13 Typhoons (belonging to both the 4° Stormo and the Gioia del Colle based 12° Gruppo of the 36° Stormo). I don’t know if the formation was the largest F-2000 formation ever flown by the European airforces that are equipped with the new fighter, but for sure it must be the largest ever flown by the Aeronautica Militare.

Daniele Tangari went to Grosseto and took the following pictures. The first one depics 3 Typhoons (2 of the 4° Stormo and 1 of the 36° Stormo) formating with the F-16 and the Frecce; the second one shows the huge formation of 13 F-2000 (in both A and B versions).

Italian Eurofighters visiting Germany

Twice during the last month, two Italian Air Force F-2000s (it must be remembered that according to the Mission Design Series, the Italian single seat Typhoon is designated F-2000A while the dual seat is TF-2000A) belonging to the 4° Stormo visited the German base of Neuburg during a week-end cross country.
On Aug. 8 the Typhoons involved were an F-2000A of the 9° Gruppo serialled MM7286 “4-2” and a TF-2000A of the 20° Gruppo serialled MM55130 “4-33” while, on Aug. 22, the flight was composed by MM7287 “4-3” (a single seat of the 9° Gruppo) and again the MM55130 “4-33”.

Dietmar Fenners, sent me the following interesting pictures of the aircraft arriving in Neuburg on both 08.08.08 and 22.08.08.

Friday Aug. 8

Friday Aug. 22

9° Gruppo Change of Command – Grosseto 05.08.08

On Aug. 5, Grosseto airbase hosted the ceremony for the 9° Gruppo Change of Command. The new Cdr, Lt. Col. Andrea Argieri, replaced the former one Lt. Col. Andrea Picco, who was the first ItAF pilot to achieve the 500 flight hours on the F-2000. The most interesting part of the ceremony held by the first Squadron of the Aeronautica Militare to receive the Eurofighter Typhoon and the first one to perform the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) service with the F-2000A among the airforces equipped with the European fighter, was the flypast performed by a formation of 8 Typhoons (7 “A” and “B” belonging to the 4° Stormo and 1 “A” belonging to the Gioia del Colle based 12° Gruppo of the 36° Stormo).
Adriano Bonelli went to Grosseto and took the following pictures of the formation flyby and the subsequent landings.

Air-to-Air videos

Each time I fly I have at least one camera with me. Doesn’t matter if I’m in a B747-400, an MD-80 or a Siai 208. I like to take as many pictures as possible from the windows and for this reason my camera is always with me. I have even two ones when I fly in a military jet because, reflex aside, I need a smaller one in one of the lower pockets of the flightsuit in case of failure of the “primary” camera. Fortunately I have never used the “spare” so far…
I have discussed a lot about my air-to-air photography experiences in many other posts on this website (among them I suggest having a look at the following ones: Airborne pickup (rejoining with an F-104) and Air to Air photography even if you can search using the box on the upper right coloumn of this page for some others).
After watching the pictures I took from the backseat of a military aircraft or reading my posts describing the difficulties of shooting intense under G forces, many aviation enthusiasts have asked me if I have ever taken any video during one of those flights. The answer is no. I have never taken any video when flying a fighter. Maybe it was because I’ve always used the pictures for my articles on magazines and websites or just because I simply like photography more than video, but my experiences with the handycam are extremely rare. I have a couple of DVDs with the videos of some flights in the cockpit of a B707 tanker or inside the AB.212AM and some footage of the Italian F-104s operations in Grazzanise dating back to the 2003, and nothing more. However, at least I know someone who has a huge experience with the television camera and videos. His name is Simone D’Ascenzi, an indipendent Italian videomaker whose tv format “Voglia di Volare” (Italian for “Eager to fly”) is an interesting program dealing with the flight. On the contrary of what I’ve done so far, Simone always take a videocamera with him and produced many interesting professional footages. With the precious contribution of the Troupe Azzurra (the Italian Air Force team producing videos and images of the Aeronautica Militare) he recently produced an episode of Voglia di Volare in which he flies in the backseat of an MB.339 of the 61° Stormo. In a sort of in-flight documentary Simone talks with the pilot on the front seat during the mission, discussing the maneuvers, commenting his experience and describing its emotions as passenger of a military aircraft during a 5 ships formation flight from Lecce-Galatina.
The episode, divided into three parts is available on Youtube (in Italian language) and it provides an interesting point of view focused on the backseater: a perspective comprising chats, comms and sounds that my pictures don’t provide.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The Italian Tornado fleet reorganises

With the arrival of a formation of 10 Tornado IDS of the 156° Gruppo in Ghedi on Jul. 1, the relocation that was described in a previous post on this site (http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/italian-tornados-relocation/) officially took place. The 156° joined the 102° OCU and the 154° Gruppo within the 6° Stormo, that for the moment will keep the status of “Stormo” not becoming an “Aerobrigata” (a flight unit with more than 2 Sqns). According to the information released by the Aeronautica Militare on its official website, the Operational Conversion Unit will keep its training role, even if it was speculated it could merge with the 154° Gruppo. Noteworthy, according to the same news release, the TASMO role, historically assigned to the 156° Gruppo (whose task was also the maritime support because of its strategic position in Southern Italy), should be relieved by the 154° Gruppo, while the “Recce” role, could be taken on charge by the 156°. It would be very strange, since TASMO and Reconnaissance are different missions which require years of specific training and can’t be swapped quickly. In my opinion, the things will remain as they are now and both Sqns will keep their current specialities.
The “Tonkas” of the 156° Gruppo arrived in their new base from Gioia del Colle with the escort of 2 F-2000 Typhoon of the 12° Gruppo (the other unit of the Gioia-based 36° Stormo) and were welcomed by a flight of 2 Tornado of the 6° Stormo. With 3 Sqns on a MOB (Main Operating Base) and a flight line of around 30 aircraft, Ghedi represents one of the most interesting and active airbases in Italy. However, for the moment at least, it will not be the only Tornado base in Italy since the ECRs of the 155° Gruppo will remain in Piacenza, home of the 50° Stormo (even if they were recently compelled to move to Cameri because of the works interesting their homebase).

The following pictures, courtesy of the Italian Air Force Press Office, shows the 10 ship formation of the 156° Gruppo flying to Ghedi on Jul 1 2008.

In the meanwhile, the Italian Ministry of Defense, visiting the Italian contingent in Herat and Kabul confirmed the possible deployement of the Tonkas in Afghanistan. As La Russa explained, currently, the German and British detachments provide the reconnaissance and they would like Italy to share the effort in the “recce” mission. According to the MOD such a request is reasonable even if the final decision to deploy the aircraft must be taken by the whole Italian Government and has to take into account also the economic effort required by a temporary deployment overseas. As reported by the ANSA news agency, a 3 months deployment of a cell of 4 Tornados could cost up to 15 milion Euro.