AMX in Afghanistan

The Italian Air Force’s Task Group Black Cats were among the unsung heroes of the operation over Afghanistan. Gian Carlo Vecchi looks back at the missions flown by the unit’s AMX A-11 fighter-bombers and speaks to the task group’s commander.

An A-11 adopts a nose-up attitude to hold station with the camera ship during a sortie from Herat in 2011. Note the RecceLite pod carried on the centreline station and the ISAF insignia worn on the engine intake. All photos Gian Carlo Vecchi unless stated

Giving support to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission was one of the Italian Armed Forces’ most significant – and enduring – overseas commitments of recent years. While all branches of the military were active in the country, as of 2013 the Aeronautica Militare (AM, Italian Air Force) was providing three task groups: Albatros with C-130J and C-27J transports, Astore with MQ-1C Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and Black Cats with AMX A-11 fighter-bombers.

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