Tag Archives: Turkish Air Force

Giornata Azzurra 2008 – pictures (part 1)

Blessed with good weather, this year’s edition of the Giornata Azzura was attended by more than 200.000 people on May 25. The two UAE Mirage 2000s and the accompanying C-130 were the most rare aircraft attending the show. The aircraft had arrived in the evening of May 23, even if there were rumors that the aircraft were scheduled for May 22, followed by the grey C-130. Pilots and military personnel were extremely polite, answered to all the questions made by the public and (unlike many others that sell their expensive Squadron’s memorabilia) offered the public a lot of presents (pins, stickers, etc), a sign of the prosperous Arab economics. Among the most photographed aircraft were the Romanian Air Force Mig-21 and AN-26 (arrived on May 23 after a stop in Istrana), the SH-3D in Special Colour scheme of the Belgian Air Force and the Turkish AF F-5 (that had arrived on May 22). The air display was focused on the tactical event that was described on a previous post on this site and that particularly interesting since it involved HH-3F, AB.212ICO, AMX, C-27J, C-130J, Tornado and F-2000 of the Italian Air Force in a simulated blitz to take an airport located at the border between two fighting countries. According to Pierfrancesco “Fats” Grassi, an F-16 driver of the 10th Gruppo, the Danish F-16 made one of the most technical display, not as “powerful” as the ones of the Belgian and Dutch Vipers, but probably more difficult. Other interesting displays were those of the Alenia M-346 , the AAR (Air to Air Refueling) demonstration of the KC-130J of the ItAF, the display of the CL-415 of the Protezione Civile, the Italian Army A-129s and Navy AV-8B and EH-101 ones, the one of the Italian Eurofighter, the Polish Team Orlik and the Patrouille de France and Frecce Tricolori. Unlike advertised, the B-1B did not perform the expected flyby, there was no B.767 used for the qualification of the ItAF pilots waiting for the delivery of the first KC-767 and there was no RAF Typhoon in static.

Giornata Azzurra 2008 preview: first pics of the tactical event's rehearsal

One of the most interesting air display of the Giornata Azzurra 2008, that will be held at Pratica di Mare airport on May 24-25, is a tactical event lasting around 40 minutes and involving almost all the assets in the Italian Air Force Orbat (Order of Battle). The simulated action will see the Tornado and AMX formations, covered by F-2000 Eurofighters in sweep role, attacking the airport (located along the border between two fighting countries) in order to neutralize the enemy air defenses. Then the airport will be taken by the Italian Special Forces carried by 2 HH-3F and 1 AB.212 and prepared for the arrival of the C-27J and C-130J carring the personnel, materials and equipments needed for the logistical support of the Forward Operating Base. The base will be then readied for the arrival of the other allied aircraft operating under the UN flag.
Giovanni Maduli went to Pratica di Mare on May 15, to watch the rehearsals of the air display and below you can see some of the pictures he took. Obviously, in a real scenario, there would be no possibility to make rehearsals, but an airshow attended by 200.000 people taking place a few miles from Fiumicino airport requires some safety parameters to be carefully tested. This is the reason why the event was tested on May 15 and will be probably tested again before May 24.

Pratica di Mare – Giornata Azzurra 2008

On May 25, Pratica di Mare airbase will host the most important ItAF event of the year: the Giornata Azzurra 2008. The Open Day is the only official air display of the Aeronautica Militare, held each year in the largest Italian airbase (with the only exception, every five years, to celebrate the anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori display team at their homebase in Rivolto). The list of the foreign attending aircraft is extremely interesting this year: the Romanian Mig-21 (both single and double seat), the Mirage 2000 of the Hellenic Air Force and the one of the EAU, the Danish F-16, the RAF Typhoon, the Turkish NF-5 and many others. In the last two editions a B.1B flyover was in the list of the air display even if the “Bone” never showed up at Pratica neither in static display nor performing the “advertised” fly-by. However, this year the B.1B presence is also confirmed by the ACC Aerial Events schedule (noteworthy, the flyover should be repeated in Berlin 26/5, Bratislava 31/5, Berlin again and Cognac on 1/6) and it is possible that the aircraft will attend the show during a routine Global Power peacetime mission. These kind of missions are used to demonstrate the global reach capability of the US bomber that often fly round robin sorties from CONUS (Continental USA) to Europe that can last close to 24-hours in duration.
The ItAF will display all the aircraft in its inventory. Among them, also the SH.3D used by the Pope, the KC-130J that was used by the RSV for the air-to-air refueling (AAR) qualification of the type with many types of receivers and the B-767 CTA used as a replacement of the B.707TT in the AAR tasks until the delivery of the new KC-767. According to the information reported by some spotters, the rehearsals of the RSV (Reparto Sperimentale Volo) have already begun. People around Pratica has been watching the display of the Tornado and Typhoon piloted by the Italian test pilots from the last week.
For updated information about the event, list of participating aircraft and media opportunities, I suggest visiting the official ItAF page of the Giornata Azzurra at the following address: http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/ga08/.

Pictures of the Giornata Azzurra 2006 are available here.

Spring Flag Media Day in pictures

Here are a few more interesting pictures of the Spring Flag Media Day held on Apr 17 at Decimomannu airbase. For the air display of the Exercise some assets of the Trapani-based Opfor visited Deci:
MM722 1-15 AV8B+ I GrupAer
MM7034 50-50 Tornado ECR 155 Gr
MM7266 F-16B 18 Gr
MM7269 F-16B 18 Gr
MM55514 SF260EA 207 Gr (this latter was reported in Deci on Apr 10 too even if SF260EA were based in Alghero as “special players”).

Extremely interesting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk marking on an F-16 of the 142 Filo of the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force). For more info visit the following link.

Spring Flag 2008 debrief – part 1

The VIP / Media Day held on Apr 17 at Decimommanu airbase was the final act of the Exercise Spring Flag. The final press conference provided lots of interesting details (that will be discussed in the next days in a dedicated post); one of the most important deals with the weather conditions that affected flight operations during the whole duration of the Exercise. Sardinia island (and most of Italy) was interested by cloudy weather that had a significant impact on the planned sorties.


Just to have an idea of the rate of cancellations let’s have a look at some figures: the Coalition forces, based in Deci flew 212 out 373 missions, the 63% of the planned sorties. The Opfor based in Trapani were less affected by the meteorological conditions and flew 119 sorties out of 137 planned, the 87%. Even for this reason, one of the Exercise’s lessons learned is that next year the Spring Flag could take place a little later, most probably in May.


I think the pictures in this post, taken by Alessandro Fucito, are particularly interesting. They show a layer of sand dust on the upper surfaces of the aircraft taking off from Deci on Apr 11. The night before, the airport was interested by a storm coming from Northern Africa that brought rain and sand from the Sahara Desert on the aircraft parked along the main apron between the Nelly West and Sally West taxiway.