Italy ends the F-16 jet fighter
Eurofighter Typhoons of the Italian Air Force have replaced the last of the air forces’ F-16 jets to leave the Typhoon solely responsible for the defence of Italian airspace. Entering into service in 2004 and now operational with four Typhoon Squadrons across both northern and southern Italy – two at Grosseto air base and two at GioiadelColle – Eurofighter is, from today onwards, the only air defence asset in the Italian Air Force. Replacing the F-16 as a more modern weapon system, the Typhoon aircraft will bring to the air force operational benefits thanks to better effectiveness and capabilities of the new fighter as well as offering logistics benefits due to the standardization of having only one operational line for air defence duties. The ItAF leased 34 F-16s from the USAF for a period of five years, followed by an additional five years under the program “Peace Caesar”. The aircraft has been effectively used to fill a gap during the transition from the F-104 and the Eurofighter. 62 Typhoon aircraft have been delivered to the Italian Air Force to date and during operations in Libya in 2011, the Italian Air Force fleet completed over 200 missions and flew 1294 flying hours from their Forward Operating Base in Trapani, Sicily.