Tag Archives: Royal Air Force

Frecce Tricolori’s 50th Anniversary airshow

I recently visited Rivolto airbase, in NE Italy, during the rehearsals (Sept. 10) and the airshow (Sept. 11 and 12) that was held at the Frecce Tricolori homebase to celebrate the 50th Anniversary (actually the 50th airshow season) of the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (Italian Aerobatic Team). The airshow, that represented the 10° Raduno Piloti Pattuglie Acrobatiche (Aerobatic Team Pilot Reunion), was attended by about 450.000 people and by 600 media representatives. The flying programme saw the display of some of the most important aerobatic teams: the Red Arrows, the Patrouille de France, the Patrulla Aguila, the Patrouille Suisse and the Jordanian Falcons. The airshow was attended also for the first time by the Croatian Krila Oluje Team and by the Polish Team Iskry. Some solos displayed too: along with the MB.339CD, the Tornado, the C-27J, the AMX and the F-2000 of the Reparto Sperimentale Volo, also the Alenia Aermacchi M.346 “Master” that will be delivered to the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) during the next year. Interestingly, the F-2000 had the 4° Stormo badge on the right hand side of the tail and the RSV one on the other one.

The flying display was broadcasted live on the Internet and on TV by the RAI (Italian State TV). After being inteview Live from Rainews24:

I had the honour to be invited to talk about the official ItAF book for the 50th Anniversary of the Frecce (read here: http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/frecce-tricolori/) during the Azzurro Tricolore live television show broadcasted by Rai Uno (Channel 1):

On the same subject I was also interviewed by Carlo Gallucci for the TG5:

Here are some interesting pictures I took during the three days spent in Rivolto.








French Navy Rafales grounded by a computer virus

French Navy (Marine Nationale) has recently admitted that the Conficker worm struck some important systems preventing operative units to download their flight plans as databases were infected. Even if warnings about the risk of being attacked by the virus had been issued in October 2008, the French military authorities did not install the required security patches on their Windows systems, issued by Microsoft on Oct. 15, 2008. Conficker targets the Microsoft Windows operating system and exploits a known vulnerability in the Windows Server service used by Windows 2000, WinXP, Vista, Windows Server 2K3 and Windows Server 2K8. When executed, the worm disables some system services (as the Win Update, the Security Center and the Personal Firewall), then connects to a server to download other malware, to gather information stored in the computer or to propagate to another target. According to the information released by the French military, the proliferation of the worm caused the loss of Availability but did not cause loss of data Integrity or Confidentiality. As a consequence of Conficker proliferation, the Marine Nationale had to cut the communication links and to use telephone, fax and post to communicate. A USB drive is suspected to be the media used by Conficker to enter the French internal networks. French officials believe it was not a deliberate attack and affirm that the most sensitive network, named Sicmar, was not affected by the worm that attacked only non-secured internal networks. Among them, the Intramar French Navy network, that was immediately isolated. However a certain number of computers were infected and on Jan 15 and 16, Navy’s Rafale could not depart since they were not able to download their flight plans. The French newspapers stressed that the Marine Nationale was not the only one to be hit by the virus: at the beginning of January 2009, the British Defence Ministry was atteacked by a version of the virus that infected some 24 RAF bases and 75% of the Royal Navy fleet, Ark Royal aircraft carrier comprised! Information Security is a driver of flight operations (and improves Aviation Safety).

French Navy picture

© Marine Nationale

RAF Jaguar confiscated by the Italian Customs in Ancona

On Feb 6, a RAF Jaguar, was found by the Italian Guardia di Finanza in the Ancona harbour and blocked before being embarked on board a cargo ship with destination Patras, in Greece. The aircraft was not concealed, it was simply covered with cloth and divided into two parts: fuselage and wings. Although the aircraft should be destinated to a Museum or a private collection, it was blocked pending further investigation on the accompanying documentation by the Ministry of Defense. In fact, it is not the first time that Ancona is used as a port of call for a variety of weapons trafficking and the Italian authorities will have to shed light on the “mysterious” Jaguar. Since the aircraft seems to be perfectly airworthy the investigators will have to verify the actual purpose of the shipment and the authorizations provided by the Greek carrier. Wearing the markings of the 41 Sqn (as you can see from the picture published on the website of the Resto del Carlino newspaper: http://ilrestodelcarlino.ilsole24ore.com/ancona/2009/02/06/149691-caccia_bombardiere.shtml), according to some sources, the aircraft should be the XZ355/FJ stored after retirement at RAF Coltishall.
The 16(R) and 54 Squadrons disbanded in 2005, the 41(F) Squadron in 2006, 6 Squadron was expected to operate the Jaguar until Oct 31 2007 but the last operative sorties of the RAF Jaguars took place at Coningsby on Apr 30, 2007.

International Fighter 2008

On Nov. 5 and 6, the Istituto di Scienze Militari Aeronautiche (ISMA), Italian Air Force Institute of Military Aeronautical Sciences in Florence, as part of the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the institute, will host the International Fighter 2008 conference. This event is the only one in Europe dedicated to the analysis of air defence and strike fighter developments around the world and it is specifically tailored for both the Military and Industry representatives. The main themes deals with the Next Generation Fighter Capabilities and Upgrades (how the various nations are equipping aircraft currently in serive to face the new generation threats, how they are going to upgrade aircraft equipments and airframes to enhance air-to-air and strike capabilities, how the 5th generation systems are going to redefine the concept of multi-role aircraft) and the fighter requirements. In particular, this year’s edition of the conference include:

  • Canadian Forces’ Next Generation Fighter Capability
  • Royal Danish Air Force programme and requirements for replacing the in-service F-16 aircraft
  • Romanian Air Force replacement plans for the MiG-21
  • Swiss Armed Force’s New Fighter Aircraft programme designed to replace the F-5E Tiger fleet

Exclusive updates on the following programmes will be provided:

  • Swedish Air Force’s Gripen NG
  • US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
  • Polish Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • MiG-35 Fighter
  • F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
  • Romania’s MiG-21
  • Italian Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon
  • Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon

Other discussed topics are the challenges faced by the USAF bringing the 5th Generation F-22A Raptor into service with the Langley-based 1st Fighter Wing and how the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNlAF) F-16s have been employed as the Air Task Force of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

For more information, you can visit the following website http://www.site-members.com/EventWebsites/11610.002/index.html
or http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/SitoAM/Default.asp?idsez=3314&idente=458

RAF Typhoons deployed to Grosseto

Four RAF Typhoons belonging to the 29 Sqn OCU of Coningsby are currently deployed to Grosseto to operate with the F-2000 of the 20° Gruppo OCU of the Aeronautica Militare. Adriano Bonelli took the following pictures on Jul 8 while the Eurofighters were returning to base after an air-to-air training mission in one of the operating areas used by the 4° Stormo.