Italians Added To Air Tattoo Line Up
Published: 13 Apr 2016
Aircraft from the Italian Air Force are always a welcome addition to the Air Tattoo and we once again see strong support via an exciting range of aircraft from the country on display both in the air and on the ground.
At the forefront will be Italy's national aerobatic team, the famed Frecce Tricolori. Flying 10 examples of the Aermacchi MB339 PAN (now designated AT-339A) jet trainer, the Frecce is the largest of the world's national jet display teams, and puts on a performance that wows any crowd. From extremely close formations to spectacular solo manoeuvres and the emotional finale flypast - set to the tones of Pavarotti while the MB339s stream in smoke the colours of the Italian flag - this is showmanship at its best.
Since last appearing at RIAT two years ago, the team's aircraft have been given a revised colour scheme as part of celebrations of its 55th anniversary. The MB339 is now in its twilight years as the Frecce's mount, as the outfit will in future convert to a much newer jet trainer from the Alenia Aermacchi stable, the M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer).
Also coming from Italy are two solo displays from its air force flight test centre, the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV). Its Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon demonstration makes a very welcome return, joined this time by a British 'first' in the shape of a display from an AgustaWestland HH-101A Caesar helicopter.
This menacing black machine is one of Italy's versions of what the UK calls the Merlin. The armed Caesar is optimised to perform the combat search & rescue, special forces, medical evacuation and slow-moving intercept roles. It has never been seen on a British flying programme before. Completing the Italian contingent, another Typhoon will be part of the static display.
Photo credit: Rich Cooper