Italian Typhoon proved to be a worthy substitute for Tornado, AMX fighter bombers in Kuwait

Italian Typhoon Tornado Kuwait
Italian Air Force Typhoon multirole fighters in Kuwait.

On 26 March 2019, the Italian Air Force sent its Eurofighters on a mission to Kuwait for the first time. Italian air superiority aircraft took over from AMX fighter bombers to support the fight against Daesh. For about 18 months, the Italian component, called Task Group "Typhoon", operated under the IT NCC Air/TFA Kuwait (Italian National Contingent Command Air/Task Force Air), established on 17 October 2014 as part of the Prima Parthica and Inherent Resolve operations.

In Kuwait, the Eurofighter has proven to be an extremely versatile and reliable weapon system. It has effectively covered the role previously played by Tornado and AMX strike fighters.

Thanks to the sophisticated Reccelite II reconnaissance pod, it has collected and distributed a large quantity of high-resolution images of the points of interest to the Coalition.

The Italian Task Group has perfected the tactics, techniques and procedures, both on the ground and in flight, to plan and execute missions, analyze and disseminate the collected data and images, proving the effectiveness of the Eurofighter in ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions. The great maneuverability, the ability to spend a short time in the area of operations and the high transit speed of the aircraft have made the difference in the war theater.

Over the 18-month period, Task Group "Typhoon" completed 2,900 operational reconnaissance flight hours in over 700 sorties, covering nearly 9,000 points of interest. These missions take place exclusively on Iraqi territory. The collected data is sent, in real time, to ground stations to be analyzed by specialized intelligence units before being supplied to the Coalition.

The mission of the Task Group “Typhoon” marked the first use of Italian Eurofighters for ISR missions in operational theater. Their task was completed in early September 2020 when they were replaced by ITAF Tornado aircraft.

The Italian Air Force was the first armed force in Europe to integrate the initial Tactical Recconnaissance (TAC RECCE) capability into the Eurofighter. The ITAF Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV) completed the preparatory development activities for the Operational Technical Certification (CTO) in June 2015. Since then, ITAF has been able to use the Reccelite electro-optical reconnaissance pod on the Typhoons in addition to the Tornado and AMX.

RecceLite - Tactical Reconnaissance Pod

RecceLite Reconnaissance Pod

The RecceLite is a self-contained self-cooled multi-sensor tactical reconnaissance system, consisting of an airborne pod based on the Litening Targeting and Navigation Pod and a ground exploitation station.

The RecceLite simultaneously collects Infra-Red (IR) and Visual (VIS and near IR) digital images within a very wide field of regard, in accordance with an automatic mission plan and/or manual operation. The images and the data annotation are recorded on a solid state recorder and transmitted to the exploitation station via the RecceLite data link. The Images are then interpreted at the ground exploitation station.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Image: Italian MoD

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