A look into Italy's Suppression of Enemy Air Defence Unit: 155 Gruppo

David Cenciotti recently visited Ghedi Air Base, home to the Italian Air Force’s 155° Gruppo Electronic Warfare Tactical Suppression (ETS), to learn how the Tornado ECR and F-35A Lightning II are training for dangerous enemy radar destruction missions, dubbed ‘Wild Weasel’ tactics by the USAF.

Tornado ECR
The ‘omni-role’ F-35A Lightning II aircraft of the 13° Gruppo team up with Tornados of the 155° Gruppo during complex SEAD/ DEAD missions. The Lightnings exploit their ESM (electronic support measures) sensors to detect enemy emissions and assign targets to the ECRs acting as ‘HARM shooters’ from safe distance
All photos, author, unless stated

According to Lt Col Michele (surname withheld for security reasons), commander of the 155°Gruppo ETS ‘Pantere Nere’ (Black Panthers): "Our primary role is SEAD – Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses and DEAD – Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses, two kinds of mission we carry out with the Tornado ECR.” The squadron has been based in Ghedi since 2016, when the Aeronautica Militare (AM, Italian Air Force) decided to center all the Tornado fleet with 6° Stormo (Wing).

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