Behind-the-scenes with Dutch F-16s at Exercise Gioia Falcon 21

For two weeks in November, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16AMs deployed to Gioia del Colle Air Base in southern Italy to train with the Italian Air Force. Giovanni Colla and Remo Guidi caught some of the action.

The drills that took place at Gioia del Colle Air Base in southern Italy, from November 15-26 were dubbed Gioia Falcon. The Italian Air Force’s 36° Stormo Eurofighter F-2000As of 10º-12º Gruppo worked alongside 11 F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcons from 312 Squadron of the RNLAF. The F-16s had arrived on November 12 from Volkel Air Base with a contingent of 150 crew, including pilots, maintenance and associated personnel needed to support the deployment.

F-16 (Giovanni Colla)
A Dutch F-16AM taxies out at the start of a night mission. Giovanni Colla

Initially this exercise should have taken place in 2020 at Trapani Air Base in Sicily but, as one of the RNLAF pilots, callsign ‘Speed’, explained: “Due to the restrictions caused by COVID-19, we ended up at Gioia del Colle, not Trapani as was originally envisaged.”

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