Southern Beauties: Italian F-16's at Kleine Brogel

 

Four Lockheed-Martin F-16A block 15 Air Defence Fighters of 23° Gruppo Caccia Intercettori Ognitempo “Veltro” / 5° Stormo “Guiseppe Cenni” arrived in the late afternoon of 31 March 2008 at Kleine-Brogel Airbase for a two nights stay. The aircraft came from their home base in Cervia San Giorgio, halfway in between Ravenna and Rimini on Italy’s east coast, and made a stopover at Dijon in France. The Italians deployed at Kleine Brogel for Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) with the resident squadrons.

MM7238 / 80-0615

 Note 23° Gruppo’s badge on the yellow travel pod on the centreline station. The unit’s badge consists of a black greyhound over a red Sidewinder missile on a yellow background. Unit lettering is pale yellow, that of the unit’s device is black. “Come Veltri ch’uscisser di catena”, “Like Greyhounds unleashed from their chains”, is a line taken from Dante’s Divine Comedy.

MM7251 / 81-0801

 All aircraft carried a large Greyhound in 23° Gruppo’s colours black and yellow on the vertical tail fin, as well as 5° Stormo’s badge and number. The badge of 5° Stormo depicts “Diana Cacciatrice” or “Diana the Hunter”.

 The four Air Defence Fighters (the fourth machine being MM7243 / 82-1014) were all equipped with a pair of dummy Raytheon/Bodenseewerk Gerätetechnik GmbH AIM-9L Sidewinder infra-red guided short range air-to-air missiles. All missiles were lacking the four air-driven wheels, fitted in the aft corner of the rear fins for gyroscopic in-flight stabilisation.

MM7252 / 81-0693

The F-16A ADF-variant can be recognised by its slightly different “bird slicer” Identification Friend-or-Foe antennas on the aircraft’s nose in front of the canopy and on the underside of its air intake. The long horizontal bulges on both sides of the base of the vertical tail fin are also typical for the ADF-variant. They cover the hydraulic rudder actuators, which in this variant were repositioned from the vertical tail fin, where they had to make place for a Bendix/King ARC-200 radio with secure Have Quick II speech module. The aircraft are also equipped with a searchlight in the portside nose for visual identification of intercepted aircraft during the night, but this is not exclusive to the ADF-variant. 

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  Text and pictures by

© Jos Schoofs (April 2008)

Last updated 01/05/08 12:13   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com