Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Translation: Marc Arys  ©sbap 2020
 
Italian Air Force deploys to Germany
During the period from 28 September to 15 October, the German base at Nörvenich was host to a panel of fighters from the Aeronautica Militare Italiana. Six Panavia Tornado ECR operated from the German airbase, but also daily pairs of Typhoon and AMX shuttled daily between the base of Istrana and the TLG 31 "Boelke" base at Nörvenich.
As we have seen, the German base located not far from the city of Cologne had a lot to do during the second half of 2020. After having welcomed their Israeli counterpart and organized the SNAP (Significance of National Air Power) exercise, it was then the turn of the Italian Air Force to put its wheels on the Typhoon home base with the "Winged Sword".
The Typhoon and AMX present in Nörvenich belong to the 51° Stormo "Ferruccio Serafini", in fact the AMX fleet of the Italian Air Force is in order to be replaced by Eurofighter Typhoon's, which is why both types of aircraft wear the markings of the same unit.
The six Tornado that had taken up residence at the German base were all from the 6° Stormo "Alfredo Fusco" which is based in Ghedi in northern Italy, not far from the Istrana airbase.
The main purpose of deploying the Tornado was to train in electronic warfare on the "Polygon Electronic Warfare Range" located in the south-west of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Indeed, it is useful to specify that the Tornado ECR (EA-200B) present were aircraft attached to the 155° Gruppo ET specialized in this kind of missions. Each day there was a mission of four aircraft in the morning and a second wave of four in the afternoon.
This is not the first time that the Italian Tornado ECR's have been deployed in Nörvenich. In the past the 6° Stormo operated regularly from the German airbase for the same reasons.
 
The famous Range located in the vicinity of Staffelhof and Rodalben
(Google Earth)
The "Polygone Electronic Warfare Range"
(Google Earth)
  

The "Polygone Electronic Warfare Range" is a unique training facility in Europe for SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence) missions. This multinational Polygon dedicated to electronic warfare tactics is located in south-western Germany, not far from the border with France. The "Polygone Electronic Warfare Range" is a tri-national facility managed by France, Germany and the United States.
The range allows crews to train in electronic warfare in an environment that is very close to reality, particularly in situations of threat and combat against anti-aircraft missiles. The "Polygone Electronic Warfare Range" virtually recreates realistic combat simulations with the use of anti-aircraft missile batteries and other equipment from the former Soviet Army or the former GDR (Former East Germany).
During training missions, crews will have to face Smokey SAM missiles, an unguided simulation missile that emits a smoke trail comparable to a real launch, adding one more touch of realism. It is obvious that this type of training is very important for crews specialized in SEAD missions. In the Netherlands, these types of simulated attacks are also staged on a smaller scale during the "Frisian Flag" exercises that are held (normally) annually from the Leeuwarden base.
The suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD), better known by the American pseudonym of "Wild Weasel" are missions of capital importance in a modern conflict, aimed at suppressing enemy ground-to-air defences of any type (missile, cannon...), but also radar or communications systems making the enemy "blind" and unable to retaliate.
The suppression of means can be achieved by physical destruction or by on-board jamming systems that disrupt the enemy's reactions. In modern warfare, SEAD missions can account for up to 30% of all sorties launched in the first wave of an attack. It is obvious that SEAD missions are particularly dangerous for crews, as they are the first to enter enemy territory during an offensive wave. The "Wild Weasel" therefore provides a "clean-up" allowing subsequent missions to work in a strategic "clean" environment.

   
Landing lights at night
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The daylight is coming
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Early morning technical check
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Landing lights waiting to show the good way
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Preparation of the first Typhoon wave
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The "Quadriga project" special paint is the reserve aircraft today
(Serge Van Heertum©)
30+07 ready and taxi
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Crossing the runway to get the last chance point
(Serge Van Heertum©)
"Oswald Boelke" will fly today
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A real thunder special paint
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Simply majestic
(Serge Van Heertum©)
31+39 (c/n GS0099)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
30+54 (c/n GT016)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
30+07 (c/n GS002)  ready and taxi to the holding point runway 07
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Take off
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Leaving the last chance check point
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Taxi clearence to the holding point
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The 31+30 (c/n GS0090)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Followed by the 31+42 (c/n GS0102)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Pair take off on runway 07
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Morning arrival from Istrana airbase
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7314 51-03 F-2000A (c/n IS046) 132° Gruppo
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Landing of the second one
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Leaving the runway
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7353 51-05 F-2000A (c/n IS079) 132° Gruppo
(Serge Van Heertum©)
6° Stormo AMI morning mission
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Take off for a local mission
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The Italian Tornado's were deployed @ Nörvenich, not the other aircraft
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Full AB take off
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The Tornado remain a powerful machine
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Little bit smoking...
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A third one at take off
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The power of the twin Turbo Union RB199 Mk103 engine
(Serge Van Heertum©)
This was also a day for Bundespolizei training
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Eurocopter EC.155B D-HLTK (c/n 6595)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A bigger one...
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Eurocopter AS332L-1 Super Puma D-HEGW (c/n 2696)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Eurocopter EC.145T-2 ADAC Luftrettung D-HYAK (c/n 20121)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Eurocopter EC.120B Colibri  D-HSHI (c/n 1691) also from the Bundespolizei
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Back from mission and performing some overshoots...
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The underside of the 30+96 "Boelke"
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Landing runway 07
(Serge Van Heertum©)
There is nothing to say, but he has "a warrior face"
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The two seatter version called EF2000(T)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The second one
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Leaving the runway for the parking
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The 30+96 showing the tribute to Oswald Boelke
(Serge Van Heertum©)
A beautiful paint scheme, isn't it?
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The "Boelke" driver of the day
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Mission accomplished, back to the shelter
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Another pair doing some overshoots
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Really low level
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Back home
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Clear view at the HUD (Head Up Display)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Arrival of the 31+42
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The 31+30 back in his dedicated shelter
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Departure of the Italian Typhoon's
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Back to Istrana airbase
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7062 6-74 Tornado ECR MLU RET8 (c/n 492/ECR02/5072) 155° Gruppo ET
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Morning mission completed, back to Nörvenich
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The Italian Tornado with a low viz "Sharkmouth"
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7053 6-101 Tornado ECR MLU RET8 (c/n 430/ECR03/5062) 155° Gruppo ET
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The Tornado remains an impressive machine
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Nose close up
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7066 6-43 Tornado ECR MLU RET8 (c/n 520/ECR/5077) 155° Gruppo ET
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Simply waouw!
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Mission done, back to the parking
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7051 6-72 Tornado ECR MLU RET8 ( c/n 419/ECR/5060) 155° Gruppo ET
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Impressive landing view
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Mission also accomplished for this pair
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The 31+05 (c/n GS081)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
And the 31+16 (c/n 176/AS009)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Rear view of the German Typhoon
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Lunch time...
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Another one back with some wet weather effects
(Serge Van Heertum©)
The 30+07 (c/n 040/GS002)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Smile !
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Arrival of a AMX pair from Istrana airbase
(Serge Van Heertum©)
Face to face with the little AMX aircraft
(Serge Van Heertum©)
They will return in Italy in the afternoon...
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7189 51-71 tail code 89 AMX ACOL (c/n IX101) GEA 51° Stormo
(Serge Van Heertum©)
MM7186 51-50 tail code 86 AMX ACOL (c/n IX098) GEA 51° Stormo
(Serge Van Heertum©)
  

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