Dissecting The Italian Air Force’s 100th Anniversary Air Parade



The MQ-9A was positively one of many highlights of this parade, as that is the primary time the RPA was seen in flight at an airshow outdoors the USA. (All photos, credit score: Stefano D’Urso)

One after the other, all of the formations that took half within the large flying parade which featured all of the property at present in service, together with an MQ-9A Predator B RPA (on the kind’s first in-flight look at a European airshow).

As we already reported, on June 16, 17 and 18, the Italian Air Pressure celebrated its one hundredth anniversary with a memorable airshow which paid homage to the service’s historical past. After describing all the historic aircraft that flew during the airshow, it’s now time to dissect the huge air parade that included all of the completely different plane sorts at present in service.

It’s not the primary time the Italian Air Pressure reveals its property in flying air parades as, for an occasion, it was already executed this 12 months on the official day of the one hundredth anniversary and for the Republic Day. This time, nonetheless, the parade was a lot bigger, with a complete of 63 plane concerned, and in addition noticed some property collaborating for the primary time in this sort of actions.

The 100 formation with 6 F-35s, 8 F-2000s and eight T-346s. 

The image of the one hundredth anniversary, the 100 formation made its first appearance on March 28, the day of the anniversary. With six F-35s making the primary and eight F-2000s and eight T-346s making every of the zeros, the celebratory formation made its return for the airshow, flying within the afternoon on every day and headed in direction of the group.

Few moments later, the parade appeared on the horizon alongside the runway. The parade was opened by “Purple 1”, an MQ-9A Predator B (the identify Reaper was not adopted in Italy) Remotely Piloted Plane that rocked the wings to salute the airshow attendees as flew over the airport. That is the primary time an MQ-9 has even been proven in flight at an airshow in Europe. The primary to induct UAV in service in Europe, the ItAF has been using extensively the Predator family of drones in a number of roles for 20 years.

The MQ-9A Predator B which opened the parade.

The parade continued with “Blue 1”, a rotary wing formation of three HH-139 Search and Rescue helicopters, a VH-139 VIP helicopter and two HH-212 helicopters. The HH-139s are assigned to the fifteenth Wing and dislocated in a number of bases throughout the nation, all the time in alert 24/7 for SAR and EMS flights. The VH-139, assigned to the thirty first Wing, is often tasked with VIP transport, however is often tasked for SAR and EMS operation, whereas the HH-212, assigned to the ninth Wing, are actually primarily assigned particular operations help duties however nonetheless retain SAR capabilities.

The blended formation with HH-139s, a VH-139 and HH-212s.

Then it’s the flip of “Blue 2”, a three-ship formation of TH-500 coaching helicopters. The helicopters, assigned to the 72nd Wing, are used to coach new helicopter pilots and, as a secondary function, as liaison helicopters. The ItAF additionally make use of the TH-500 in water operations, with a variant fitted with floats as an alternative of the usual skids.

The three-ship formation of TH-500 helicopters.

“Blue 3” adopted the TH-500s with six HH-101 Caesar CSAR helicopters, assigned to the ninth Wing and used for particular operations help missions and personnel restoration missions. The HH-101 can be able to air-to-air refueling, one of many few helicopters with this functionality in Europe. The lead helicopter is painted with a gray livery, as an alternative of the black one of many different helicopters. The truth is, the darker colour was changed with a lighter one in an effort to forestall cabin and cockpit overheating particularly throughout daylight missions in the summertime season.

The HH-101 formation.

After the helicopters, “Crimson 1” opens the parade of the fastened wing plane with 4 U-208 utility plane and 4 T-260 trainers in two diamond formations. The U-208s are assigned to the sixtieth Wing, which makes use of them for liaison roles, glider towing, aeronautic tradition programs and as “aggressor” during Slow Mover Intercept training missions.

The four-ship formation of U-208M liason plane.

The T-260s are assigned to the 70th Wing, which employs them for the coaching of the Air Pressure Academy college students and the ultimate number of those that may develop into pilots. The extremely maneuverable plane accompanies pupil pilots not solely throughout the Section 1 coaching, which provides cadets their pilot licenses, but in addition throughout the next years of the Academy, till they graduate and transfer to Section 2.

The four-ship formation of T-260 trainers.

4 Piaggio P-180 (VC-180 within the MoD designation) of the 14th Wing had been flying as “Crimson 2”. The Italian-made plane, which loved a discreet success on the company market, is used for liaison roles and to coach pilots of multi-engine/multi-crew plane for the Section 3 coaching on the Centro Addestramento Equipaggi (Aircrew Coaching Heart) Multi-Crew. The ItAF additionally operates a radio-measures variant devoted to the periodic controls of navigational aids.

The Piaggio P-180 formation.

 The forty sixth Air Brigade then confirmed up with the “Crimson 3” formation, fabricated from a C-130J, a KC-130J and two C-27J cargo aircraft. The plane are the workhorses of the Aeronautica Militare for cargo transportation, airborne troops drop, humanitarian assist, but in addition EMS flights when there’s the necessity to transport an ambulance or biocontainment gear.

The cargo formation with C-130J, KC-130J and C-27Js.

Changin colour, it was then time for “White 1”, a formation fabricated from a Beech King Air 350ER SPYDR and a P-72 maritime patrol aircraft. The SPYDR is used for SIGINT/COMINT (Sign/Communication Intelligence) and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance), and shall be changed in future by the newer JAMMS plane. The P-72, collectively operated by Air Pressure and Navy, can undertake a wide range of roles starting from maritime patrol for the search and identification of floor vessels, SAR (search and rescue) missions, the prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy, smuggling, territorial water safety and monitoring and intervention within the occasion of environmental catastrophes.

SPYDR and P-72 in path formation.

The Italian Air Pressure One, VC-119CJ, made its look as a part of the “White 2” formation along with a VC-50 and a VC-900, operated by the thirty first Wing. Though their main function is VIP transport, these plane are sometimes used for humanitarian and EMS flights each in Italy and overseas.

The VIP fleet with the VC-119, VC-50 and VC-900.

“White 3” featured four FT-339C of the 61st Wing, used for the Section 3 coaching of pilots that shall be assigned to fighter plane and RPAs. Up to now the plane was additionally assigned a task within the Italian air protection as Sluggish Mover Interceptor, armed with 30 mm gun pods and AIM-9L missiles. In comparison with the basic T-339A, the C variant contains a trendy glass cockpit, in addition to air-to-air refueling capabilities.

The FT-339C diamond formation.

With the “Inexperienced 1” formation, the parade moved to the front-line plane. The formation featured two Tornado A-200C and two Tornado EA-200B of the 6th Wing, adopted by three AMX A-11B of the 51st Wing. The plane are the devoted property of the Italian Air Pressure for floor assault and tactical reconnaissance missions, with a number of deployments overseas as a part of worldwide missions. The Twister celebrated final 12 months its fortieth anniversary, whereas the AMX is nearing its retirement.

The bottom assault formation with Twister and AMX plane.

The “Inexperienced 2” formation options the spine of the Aeronautica Militare, the Eurofighter F-2000 Hurricane. The European plane, in service with the 4th, thirty sixth, thirty seventh and 51st Wings, was initially used just for air-to-air missions, however later developed in a real multirole plane with the addition of air-to-ground and tactical reconnaissance missions. The Hurricane is repeatedly deployed overseas to participate in NATO Air Policing missions and in the Inherent Resolve coalition.

The Eurofighter formation.

The ultimate formation, “Inexperienced 3”, encloses all parts of the trendy airpower. A KC-767 tanker of the 14th Wing, with its refueling hoses prolonged, leads the formation, whereas two Typhoons stand prepared within the pre-contact positions behind the air-to-air refueling baskets. An E-550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning plane follows, escorted by two F-35As and one F-35B, which then broke the formation to carry out just a few flybys over Pratica di Mare, with the F-35B exhibiting off its STOVL capabilities hovering in entrance of the group after which performing a brief touchdown.

Air energy formation with KC-767, CAEW, F-35s and F-2000s.

Forward of the air parade, one other well-known formation took the skies above Pratica di Mare: the Legend Formation. First appeared in 2015, the formation is fabricated from probably the most well-known coach plane within the historical past of the Aeronautica Militare, together with the U-208M, Fiat G-46, T-6G Texan (piloted by Gen. Alberto Rosso, former Chief of Employees of the ItAF), T-260, FT-339C, MB-326E, MB-326K and probably the most trendy Italian coach, the T-346A Grasp.

The Legend Formation.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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