The 4th Air Wing of the Italian Air Force have reached the key milestone of 10,000 flight hours with the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Based in Grosseto, in central Italy, the 4th Air Wing was the first Italian Air Force unit to receive the Typhoon in 2004. To celebrate the event, which was attended by the Italian Air Force's Chief of Staff Daniele Tei, one of the aircraft from the squadron sported a special paint scheme on its fin.
Italian’s Typhoons are used for the vital role of assuring the security of Italy's national air space.
The Italian Air Force assures surveillance and defence of the national air space 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, through an integrated system of radar, aircraft and missile systems, with the systems of the other NATO member countries. In addition to Grosseto’s 4th Air Wing, the 36th Air Wing of Gioia del Colle is also equipped with Eurofighter Typhoons and is committed to performing immediate take-off and interception in the event of alarm. In addition, Cervia’s 5th Air Wing (near Ravenna on the eastern coast) and Trapani’s 37th Air Wing in Siciliy accomplish these duties.
The Italian Typhoons have been ensuring since last summer, on a NATO mandate, that the air space of Albania, a country lacking it’s own aircraft to perform this role, is protected.
The 4th Air Wing operates with two Squadrons - 9 and 20. The latter is an Operational Conversion Unit for the pilots’ transition to the Eurofighter fleet.
On the 21st of June 2009, the Air Wing obtained NATO’s certification to accomplish out-of-area missions in support of peace within the NATO Response Force.
Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most advanced new generation real multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft available on the market and has been ordered by six nations (Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). With 707 aircraft under contract, it is Europe’s largest military collaborative programme and delivers leading-edge technology, strengthening Europe’s aerospace industry in the global competition. More than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies are secured by the programme. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies: Alenia Aeronautica/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland, Europe’s foremost aerospace companies with a total turnover of approx. €88 billion (2008).