Tag Archives: Italian Army

Take A Look At These Stunning Shots Of The “5 Torri” Joint Multinational Mountain Warfare Exercise in the Dolomites

You don’t happen to see combat helicopters and jets operating in the magnificent setting of the Dolomites too often.

Cinque Torri (5 Towers) is the name of a mountain complex part of the Dolomites, in northern Italy. Named after the mountain range is also an yearly, large, joint multinational exercise that this year took place on Jul. 4: “5 Torri 2018”.

The Army Alpine Troops, military from 14 allied and friendly countries, assets belonging to the Italian Army Aviation as well as all national Armed Forces and personnel from the Alpine and Speleological Rescue National Corps and Civil Protection took part in the alpine  exercise whose aim is to conduct simulated combat in the mountains, apply mountaineering techniques to carry out movement and high-altitude rescue operations, and to show the Alpine Troops’  ability to develop effectively the modern “mountain warfare” concept, an evolution of the traditional high altitude combat techniques.

An NH-90 involved in the exercise.

On the very same mountain tops, where the Italian Artillery Command was located 100 years ago, the Italian mountain soldiers wrote some epic pages of military history during WWI using tactics similar to those used today. Indeed, in a four-dimensional battlefield that includes cyberspace, alpine combat is far from being obsolete, as the operations in Afghanistan have shown.

An Italian Air Force AMX ACOL from Istrana also took part in the drills.

An UH-205 escorted by an AH-129 Mangusta.

An ICH-47F in the magnificient setting of the Dolomites.

The venerable AB.205 involved in a tactical transportation mission.

“A traditional as well as modern exercise, that has engaged our Armed Forces and those of 14 allied and friendly countries who have trained all together in order to be able to intervene in all climate and environmental circumstances. Most of the earth’s land surface is made up by mountains, and most current operations take place in mountain areas”, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Graziano stated in his welcome speech.

The exercise included several tactical events (SAR, troops infilitration and exfiltration, transportation and escort etc.) and saw the involvement, among the others of Italian Army CH-47F, NH-90 (UH-90), AB-205 (UH-205) and A-129 (AH-129) helicopters as well as Italian Air Force AMX (A-11B) jets and an NH-500 (TH-500A) helicopter.

An Italian Army Aviation Mangusta.

Fast rope from a Chinook.

People enjoy the tactical demo and the stunning panoramic views.

The Aviationist’s contributor Claudio Tramontin took the amazing photographs you can find in this article.

 

Exercise Joint Stars 2018 put Italian Armed Forces most advanced “hardware” to test

F-35, T-346, Typhoon, AV-8B, CAEW among the assets involved Italy’s largest exercise supported (for the first time) by the U.S. Marine Corps too.

From May 7 to 19, more than 2,000 military, 25 aircraft and helicopters, dozens of land, naval and amphibious vehicles belonging to the Italian Air Force, Navy, Army were involved in the first phase of Italy’s largest joint drills this year: Exercise Joint Stars 2018. The aim of JS18 is “to achieve the highest possible level of interoperability among the Armed Forces, with an intelligent use of all specialties, to achieve a common goal, thanks also to the development and integration of common procedures “.

Joint Stars 2018 was designed to train commands and forces on the various types of missions that could be required in future national, multinational and coalition operations and is “a valuable opportunity to achieve, through the joint training of the Italian Army, Navy and Air Force synergy and economies, as well as to share resources and maximize interoperability in the Defense field, refining the capacity for intervention with a joint force.” Unlike the previous editions, the scenario included operations conducted within an environment degraded by cybernetic and chemical-biological and radioactive threats (CBRN).

A KC-767 escorted by Typhoon, T-346, F-35, Tornado IDS, AMX and AV-8B overflies “Deci”.

The first phase of JS18 saw the integration of four “federated” exercises within a LIVEX (Live Exercise), an exercise made of actual assets. In particular, the LIVEX integrated Exercise “Vega 18” led by the Italian Air Force; “Mare Aperto 2018” led by the Italian Navy; “Golden Wings” led by the Italian Army; and “Ramstein Guard 6-2018” exercise conducted by NATO. For the very first time this year, the JS drills saw the participation of a contingent of the U.S. Marine Corps.

An Italian Navy Harrier breaks overhead for landing in Decimomannu.

Italian Army Chinook.

The MOB (Main Operating Base) of the exercise was Decimomannu, in Sardinia, that hosted most of the participating assets, including the Italian Navy AV-8B+ Harrier II and NH-90, the Italian Army CH-47 and A-129 Mangusta as well as the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor and KC-130J aircraft, that took part in the airdrop onto the airfield and in a large Joint Personnel Recovery mission.

The U.S. Marine Corps Super Hercules during the airdrop onto Decimomannu airfield, MOB of JS18.

Dealing with the Italian Air Force, JS18 saw the involvement of all the most advanced “hardware” currently in service.

F-35A, Predator drones, G550 CAEW but also Eurofighter, Tornado and AMX jets flew missions aimed at achieving “Information Superiority” on the battlefield: indeed, access to and control of information has always played a crucial role in military operations. The Italian Air Force responds to this challenge with the use of highly specialized aircraft assets such as Predator, CAEW and F-35 and high-tech systems, such as the “RecceLite” and “Litening III” pods on Eurofighter, Tornado and AMX.

The F-35A Lightning II also flew as Aggressors in complex missions against the Eurofighter Typhoons.

Noteworthy, the Italian F-35A were involved also as Aggressors, alongside the T-346 aircraft: for instance, an air defense mission saw four Typhoons supported by one CAEW (“Blue Air”) fly against two T-346 and two F-35s (“Red Air”) supported by a NATO Da-20 EW (Electronic Warfare), whose role was to degrade the effectiveness of the interceptors radar and radio systems by using radar jamming and deception methods.

The T-346A of the 212° Gruppo (Squadron) from 61° Stormo were part of the Red Air.

The MQ-1C (Predator “A +”) and MQ-9A (Predator “B”) UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) were tasked with ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) missions; the CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft, acted as AEW as well as “flying command post” proving particularly useful to support land, naval and air forces; the brand new F-35A Lightning II stealth aircraft made use of their high-end electronic intelligence gathering sensors combined with advanced sensor fusion capabilities to create a single integrated “picture” of the battlefield that could be shared in real-time with all the players.

MV-22, CH-47 NH-90 and a pair of A-129 involved in a PR (Personnel Recovery) mission.

Taking part in a Joint Stars exercise for the very first time were also the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 and KC-130J.

Typhoon, Tornado IDS and AMX jets performed tactical reconnaissance missions on terrestrial targets using “RecceLite” and “Litening III” pods, whereas HH-139, HH-101, HH-212 helicopters along with the Eurofighter jets undertook SMI (Slow Mover Intercept) missions against NH.500 helicopter and Siai 208 light aircraft that played the “slow mover” role.

An AMX ACOL comes to landing in Decimomannu after a JS18 mission.

All the photographs in this article were taken by The Aviationist’s photographers Giovanni Maduli and Alessandro Caglieri.

Italy deploys Helicopter Force (including AW-129 Mangusta attack choppers) to Iraq

NH-90 and AW-129 helicopters to be deployed to Erbil “very soon.”

The Italian Army is going to deploy a Helicopter Force made of four NH-90 multirole choppers and four AW-129 Mangusta attack helicopters to Iraq, “very soon” the Italian MoD announced on Mar. 2, 2016.

The helicopters, along with 130 military, will be based at Erbil, in the northern part of the country, and their primary mission will be Personnel Recovery and CSAR (Combat SAR) missions. However, they are likely to be there to protect the Italian team working on repairing the Mosul Dam too: on the same day the Italian MoD announced the deployment of the helicopters, the Iraqi government signed an agreement with the Italian Trevi company (worth 273 million Euro) to repair the Mosul damn, located 130 km to the northwest of Erbil.

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Italian Army NH-90

This is the not the first time the Italian Mangustas (that have extensively been used in Afghanistan) are deployed to Iraq: the Italian Army operated the A-129 (a previous variant of the current AW-129D) in Iraq from 2003 to 2006, supporting the Italian Contingent based at Nassiryah.

The AW-129D is the latest variant of the A129 attack helicopter equipped with infrared night vision systems, laser systems for range-finding and target designation purposes, OTSWS (Observation, Targeting and Spike Weapon System) for Spike-ER missile guidance in fire-and-forget and fire-and-observe modes.

The Helicopter Force joins the rest of the Italian Contingent in the region, that includes about 760 advisors, MQ-1C Predator A+ UAS (Unmanned Aerial System), four Tornado bombers (for the moment flying only reconnaissance missions) and one KC-767A tanker supporting the US-led coalition jets involved in the air war against ISIS.

Image credit: The Aviationist’s Giovanni Maduli. Top image shows an AW-129 during a simulated Personnel Recovery from behind the enemy lines.

In Pictures: what a multinational MEDEVAC mission involving 11 helicopters looks like

Here’s a look at the Medical Evacuation mission conducted during Italian Blade 2015.

A complex MEDEVAC involving 11 helicopters from 6 different nations was among the highlights of Italian Blade 2015, the largest military rotary-wing exercise held this year in Europe at Viterbo airfield, about 80 km north of Rome, Italy.

On Jun. 29, 1x Italian Army NH-90, 1x Italian Navy EH-101, 1x German Air Force CH-53 and 2x German Army UH-1Ds, 2x Austrian AB-212s, 1x Hungarian Mi-17, a Slonenian Cougar and 2x Czech Air Force Mi-24s simulated the medical evacuation of wounded soldiers from a site located near Tarquinia, in a simulated contested battlefield.

Our photographer Alessandro Fucito took all the images of the operation that you can find in this post.

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A Luftwaffe CH-53G approaching the landing zone.

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A NH.90TTH of the 26º Gruppo AvEs (Aviazione Esercito) with side mounted machine guns lands during the MEDEVAC mission.

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Soldiers getting out of the Hungarian Mi-17 to secure the area.

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AB.212 and UH-1Ds approaching the landing zone

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Snipers aboard the Slovenian Cougar check for any hidden threat

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One of the Austrian Agusta-Bell 212 helicopters from Linz-Hörsching

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One of the two Czech Mi-24 gunships providing cover to the entire operation

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German soldiers provide cover to a landing NH-90

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The Italian Navy AW.101 ASH from Sarzana-Luni airport was the only naval helicopter to take part in the exercise

 

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The wounded soldiers are aboard: the armada can egress the area at low altitude

 Image credit: The Aviationist’s Alessandro Fucito

 

We have flown in a Mi-17 Hip during this year’s largest military helicopter exercise in Europe

Italian Blade 2015, the largest military rotary-wing exercise in Europe, underway at Viterbo, Italy.

More than 30 helicopters and 1000 military personnel from seven different countries are taking part in Italian Blade 2015, an exercise delivered by the Italian Army Aviation in Viterbo and supported by the EDA (European Defense Agency), about 80 km north of Rome.

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Taking place from Jun. 22 June to Jul. 3, Italian Blade 2015 (IB15), the largest helicopter drills in Europe this year is the 8th rotary-wing exercise supported by the European Defence Agency under the umbrella of the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) whose aim is to maximise interoperability between all assets involved and share experience by flying and co-operating in conditions similar to those found in current and future operations.

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The exercise involves helicopters in a joint/combined Task Force deployed in a friendly and recent pro-democracy state for a CSO (Crisis Response Operation). The main threat is represented by opposition from insurgent forces (Illegal Armed Group): a scenario reflecting military operations other-than-war (MOOTW).

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The Helicopter Aviation Regiment Orbat (Order of battle) can count of the following assets:

Austria: 4x AB212
Belgium: 4x A109
Czech Republic: 3x Mi-24
Germany: 4x UH-1D, 4x NH90, 1x CH-53
Hungary: 1x Mi-17
Italy: 4x A129, 2x CH-47, 2x Merlin, 4x NH90, 4x AB212
Slovenia: 1x AS532

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Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Security (R&S) operations, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Military/Non Military extractions (NEO Ops), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) are the types of missions flown by the Air Regiment in the assigned area of responsibility under the authority of a Regional Command.

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Flying in the Hungarian Mi-17 Hip

On Jun. 25, The Aviationist had the opportunity to take part in an IB15 mission on board a Hungarian  Mi-17 Hip.

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The Hungarian Air Force operates a fleet of about 10 Russian-built Mil Mi-17 and Mi-8 Hip helicopters which the service plans to replace in the near future due to the lack of spare parts. While it finds a proper replacement, the Hip is still used for a variety of combat roles at home and abroad, and it is also used to support and assist the home station training of the airmen who are designated to perform air mentor duties in Afghanistan: the Afghan Air Force (AAF) flies the Mi-17 transport helicopters and Hungary supports them with an Mi-17 Air Mentoring Team (AMT), based at Shindand, Herat Province, that provides classroom instruction and on-the-job training for the Afghan helicopter aircrews as part of the Italian–Hungarian Mi-17 Air Advisory Team.

During the IB15, the Russian chopper, from 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base, was tasked with a high altitude Personnel Recovery mission along with two Austrian AB-212s.

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The area of operations was Monte Terminillo, a massif with the highest altitude of 2,217 metres, located about 100 km from Rome, where the Mi-17 performed several mountain landings.

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The 1,5 hour sortie gave our photographers Giovanni Maduli and Alessandro Borsetti the opportunity to take some interesting shots of the Hip and its old-styled cockpit.

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Interestingly, air conditioning in the Mi-17 is supplemented by mini-fans installed in front of the pilots.

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Although it is quite obsolete, the Mi-17 remains one of the most successful and interesting choppers in service with the air arms of several countries all around the world: for instance, Syria makes an extensive use of the Hip as a gunship or transport helicopter and one of the Syrian Arab Air Force Mi-17s made the news when it was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 in September 2013.

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Here below is a short clip filmed during the sortie:

Image credit: Giovanni Maduli and Alessandro Borsetti.