Eurofighters Take Full Responsibility Defending Italian Airspace: Replacing F-16s.
Eurofighter Typhoons of the Italian Air Force (ItAF) have replaced the last of the air forces’ F-16 jets to leave the Typhoon solely responsible for the defence of Italian airspace. Entering into service in 2004 and now operational with four Typhoon Squadrons (Gruppi) across both northern and southern Italy - two at Grosseto air base and two at GioiadelColle - Eurofighter is, from today onwards, the only air defence asset in the Italian Air Force.
Replacing the F-16 as a more modern weapon system, the Typhoon aircraft will bring to the air force operational benefits thanks to better effectiveness and capabilities of the new fighter as well as offering logistics benefits due to the standardisation of having only one operational line for air defence duties.
The ItAF leased 34 F-16s from the USAF for a period of five years, followed by an additional five years under the programme “Peace Caesar”. The aircraft has been effectively used to fill a gap during the transition from the F-104 and the Eurofighter.
62 Typhoon aircraft have been delivered to the Italian Air Force to date and during operations in Libya in 2011, the Italian Air Force fleet completed over 200 missions and flew 1294 flying hours from their Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Trapani, Sicily.
Source: Eurofighter GmbH; issued May 24, 2012
Photo: The Italian Air Force’s 4° Stormo, based at Grosseto, recently hosted eleven F-16AM Falcons from the Royal Danish Air Force Base for Exercise ‘Winter Hide 2011’.
Over the four-week exercise the Danish F-16s and Italian Typhoons operated three missions a day, practicing close air support (CAS) and air-to-air scenarios both day and night. The aircraft were also joined by US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles from the 494th Fighter Squadron deployed to Decimomannu in Sardinia.
Colonel Michele Morelli, commander of 4° Stormo, said: “this exercise has been a fantastic chance to check and consolidate the standard operational procedures that we have adopted for years in the NATO fighter environment, but also very useful to validate the Eurofighter operational tactics”. February 16 2011 (Photo by Eurofighter)