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Italian Air Force Receives European Typhoon Squadron for 51st Victory

The Italian Air Force has officially included the 51° Stormo at Istres Air Force Base, in southern France, among the units responsible for national air defense after a Eurofighter Typhoon fleet was deployed to the base. The 51° Stormo is currently operating in conjunction with one flying squadron (132° Gruppo) equipped with two different fighter aircraft types, specifically the Eurofighter Typhoon and the AMX. This development brings the total number of operational Eurofighter bases in Italy up to four. The 51° Stormo aims to transfer the air defense responsibility to the Eurofighter Typhoon, gradually phasing out the AMX.

Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon Fighter Jet
The Typhoon has both air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, which will enable the Stormo to carry out the same missions as they previously performed with two different fighter aircraft, with only one single type of aircraft. The changeover at Istres Air Force Base, in collaboration with the Eurofighter partner nations, will significantly improve the interoperability between the 132° Gruppo and other European Typhoon squadrons.

Colonel Massimiliano Pasqua, Commander of the 51° Stormo, stated, “The phase-out of the AMX is necessary for the future of 51° Stormo as a fighter unit, as managing two very different aerotactical fleets was proving to be a challenge. The number of pilots assigned to the 132° Gruppo is continuously increasing to meet the personnel requirements set by partner nations, such as Germany and Great Britain, who have already ‘pooled’ their Typhoon fleets, and the Stormo at Istres is now following the same path.”

Originally, Eurofighter deployments to Istres were carried out rotationally by aircrews and crews from the 4° Stormo at Grosseto (Tuscany), the 36° Stormo at Gioia del Colle (Puglia), and the 37° Stormo at Trapani (Sicily). Leornado delivered the last batch of new Italian Eurofighters to the 132° Gruppo during a small ceremony at Istres Air Base on October 23rd, 2020. The future of the 51° Stormo with the ‘Swing Role’ Eurofighter Typhoons looks promising!

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