18 gruppo (AMI)

"Brandy" 

18 gruppo "Brandy" (AMI)
Status:
Converted
Version: F-16A/B block 15 ADF
Role:Air Defense
Tailband: N/A
Motto: Ocio che te copo (Watch out, I'm gonna kill you)
Badge: Three arrows on a green background.
Converted to the EF-2000 on May 23rd, 2012.

Sideways profile for 18 Gruppo in 2007.

F-16 History

18 Gruppo was the last of the three squadrons to be re-equipped with the F-16. This happened quite fast since all aircraft delivered under the ‘Peace Caesar’ program were handed over in less than 6 months. The F-16s replaced the venerable F-104S ASA-M in the interceptor role. These F-16s were leased from the United States for an initial period of 5 years, with an extension period for another 5 years. This extension makes it possible to make a smooth transition to the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is the intended replacement of the F-104 within the AMI.


AMI F-16A ADF #MM7248 from 18 gruppo is parked in the static display at Volkel AB during an open house. [Photo by Mike Hall]

The F-16s in the squadrons are all ADF versions. This was done intentionally because the aircraft only have interception duties. They could be made available by the USAF quickly without having to undergo extensive modification or upgrade programs before becoming operational.

What will happen with the squadron once the Typhoon enters active service within the AMI is quite uncertain since the squadron is not earmarked to receive this aircraft. On May 23rd, 2012 a disbanding ceremony was held at Trapani-Birgi AFB to mark the phasing out of the F-16 within the Italian Air Force. The squadron has not received a new assignment yet.

Only a few months after this message is was decided to equip the squadron with the Typhoon anyway and keep Trapani-Birgi AB open for the forseeable future. The intervention in Libya last year and the startegic location of Trapani-Birgi AB close to the African continent may have influenced this decision.

Aircraft Markings History

2003 - 2012

The serial number is displayed at the bottom of the tail and the wing marking on top.


Unit History

  • 1916: Activation of the squadron in Milan
  • 1916: 'Caproni' Ca.3
  • 1918: 'Caproni' Ca.5
  • 1918: Disbanded
  • 1929: Activation of the squadron in Milan (part of 3 Stormo)
  • 1929: 'Fiat' CR.20
  • 1931: 'Fiat' CR.20bis
  • 1937: 'Fiat' CR.32
  • 1939: 'Fiat' CR.42
  • 1941: 'Macchi' C.200
  • 1942: 'Macchi' C.202
  • 1943: 'Ambrosini' S.207
  • 1943: 'Dewoitine' D.520
  • 1944: 'Macchi' C.205V
  • 1945: Disbanded
  • 1956: Activation of the squadron in Villafranca (part of 3 Stormo)
  • 1956: RF-84F 'Thunderflash'
  • 1974: F-104G 'Starfighter'
  • 1977: Disbanded
  • 1983: Activation of the squadron in Gioia del Colle (part of 36 Stormo)
  • 1983: F-104S 'Starfighter'
  • 1984: F-104S 'Starfighter' (Trapani, part of 37 Stormo)
  • 1989: F-104S ASA 'Starfighter'
  • 1999: F-104S ASA-M 'Starfighter'
  • 2003: F-16A ADF 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 2012: Converted

Deployments

'Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector'
Trapani-Birgi AB, Italy (March 23rd, 2011 to October 31st, 2011)
This marked the first - and also last - official operation Italian F-16s participated in. The aircraft flew only CAP missions escorting other airplanes of the coalition into Libya.

F-16 Airframe Inventory

Photos

Errors and Omissions



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