Riccardo Niccoli provides an overview of how Eurofighter partner nation Italy tests and employs weapons for its Typhoon fighter
Like all Eurofighter partner nation air arms, Italy’s Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) started to operate its Typhoon fleet in the air defence/ air superiority role only, declaring initial operational capability on December 16, 2005. Initially, the only weapons cleared for the Typhoon were the AIM-120B AMRAAM radar-guided and AIM-9L Sidewinder IRguided missiles, and the 27mm Mauser Bk27 cannon. The AIM-2000 IRIS-T IR-guided missile, a much more capable and advanced missile for short-range engagements, was added to the Typhoon’s arsenal, gradually replacing the Sidewinder. Later, medium to long-range interception capability was improved with the introduction of the AIM-120C-5 model of the AMRAAM missile, though the journey to enlarge and complete the aircraft’s arsenal of weapons was still years away.