A blazing shield and five bolts of lightning

ITALY

An Aeronautica Militare Italiano F-35A Lightning II in a purpose-built hangar at Amendola Air Base Italy.
Aeronautica Militare

ON FEBRUARY 20, at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, the Aeronautica Militare Italiano (Italian Air Force) started the flying phase of its latest test campaign named Blazing Shield 2018. The activity is likely to be the most complex and meaningful testing undertaken in the United States by the Aeronautica Militare in the latest decade. Aircraft deployed are four Tornado ECRs from 155° Gruppo based at Ghedi, four Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoons, and one C-27J Spartan from 46a Brigata Aerea based at Pisa, plus 220 military personnel from different units, the Air Staff and the Logistics Command.

To secure the necessary operational capability, a Reparto Volo Autonomo (RVA, or Autonomous Air Wing) was temporarily activated at China Lake, led by Colonel Marco Bertoli, from the Comando Forze da Combattimento (CFC, or Air Combat Command).

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