Thursday, July 15, 2010
A new Italian Air Force Squadron Equipped with the Eurofighter
15 July 2010 -- The X Gruppo of the Italian Air Force has become the fourth Italian Squadron to be equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Squadron (X stands for 10th in Roman numerals), is the heir of World War I ace Francesco Baracca, from whom they have adopted the black "prancing horse" emblem. Previously equipped with F-16 fighters and based to Trapani, in Sicily, the Gruppo has now moved to Gioia del Colle, joining the XII Gruppo of the 36° Stormo (Air Wing) which is already flying the European fighter. With the introduction of the Typhoon to X Gruppo, there are now 15 units equipped with Eurofighters across 6 air forces in Europe and the Middle East. With over 225 aircraft in service and over 85,000 flight hours, the aircraft boasts well over average operational readiness in total safety.
The symbolic new start of the “Prancing Horse”, took place during a ceremony in Gioia del Colle that saw a flypast of a mixed formation of Eurofighter and F-16 to mark the handover between ”Viper” and “Typhoon” the most advanced air defence aircraft available on the market, representing the best capabilities ever developed by European industry.
The large air base of Gioia del Colle, situated on the toe of Italy, close to the town of Bari, was used to host a Wing (Stormo in Italian) made up of two Squadrons (Gruppo). In the '70s and '80s the 36th Stormo was equipped with F-104 aircraft. Following the F-104 came the Tornado that in the recent past equipped both Squadrons in two versions of the attack variant, IDS and the air defense, one, ADV. The X Gruppo Eurofighters will join the XII Gruppo’s jets in the role of air policing and air defence, 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week, including the role of protecting the air space over the skies of Albania.