MILAVIA > Specials > 36 Stormo Receives First Eurofighters Last updated: 24 March 2013
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Special Report : 36 Stormo Receives First Eurofighters

36 STORMO RECEIVES FIRST EUROFIGHTERS

The first Eurofighter Typhoons of 36 Stormo have arrived at Gioia del Colle to equip XII Gruppo.

The first Eurofighter fighters of 36 Stormo have arrived at Gioia del Colle to equip the XII Gruppo, Italy's third fighter group to convert to the Typhoon. Claudio Toselli was there to witness the event, which coincided with the celebration of 90 years XII Gruppo.

On Monday, 1 October 2007, the first four Eurofighter Typhoons of 36 Stormo took off from Grosseto, home base of 4 Stormo, to move to Gioia del Colle air base in the Puglia Region. They are the first Eurofighter EF2000s to be assigned to XII Gruppo of the 36 Stormo. XII Gruppo is the third fighter group to convert to the fourth generation fighter, following XX and IX Gruppo of the 4 Stormo at Grosseto. Making 36 Stormo the second Italian Air Force wing to operate the type.

The arrival of first aircraft signals not only the start of transition to the new aircraft by the wing, but also the restructuring of the 36 Stormo. In the near future, its 156 Gruppo equipped with the Tornado IDS will move to Ghedi joining 6 Stormo "Red Devils". 36 Stormo will get X Gruppo, which is currently part of 37 Stormo based in Trapani-Birgi (Sicily). X Gruppo will also be equipped with the Eurofighter and is the 4th Italian Air Force fighter group to convert to the new Typhoon.

So in the future 36 Stormo will consist of interceptor fighters only. The MB-339CD trainers that have been operated by the XII Gruppo in the SMI (Slow Mowers Interceptor) role until arrival of the Typhoon will now return to 61 Stormo in Lecce-Galatina. The XII Gruppo will be fully operational with the Typhoon by the spring of 2009.

The arrival of the new aircraft coincided with the celebration of the 90 year anniversary of the XI Gruppo, which had been established at Belluno airport in 1917. The Gruppo presented this wonderful MB339CD (MM55070 code 36-12) born from the desire of the "Strali" to paint the Francesco Baracca rampant horse which marked the Italian Air Force fighters.

Also present at the event was Lieutenant Pilot Maria Federica Maddalena, the first female fighter pilot in Italian Air Force history, destined to fly the Typhoon soon. Presently she is assigned to 90^ Squadriglia and the Nucleo Operazioni (Operations Center) of XII Gruppo and has about 500 flying hours on the MB-339CD.

Another look at 36 Stormo's first Typhoon, code 36-01. The XII Gruppo emblem is applied near the cockpit.
Another Typhoon of the first four is 36-12. The third and fourth also arrived at their home base Gioia del Colle.
4 Stormo's Typhoon, code 4-12, attended the event. Another Typhoon from 4 Stormo, code 4-14.
Another view of 36-12. A closer look at the business end of the EJ200 turbojets.
Notice how one canard has been tilted for cockpit access, independently of the other. Typhoon MM7276 is now wearing the 36 Stormo insignia.
The XII Gruppo's first Typhoon, MB-339CD anniversary special and oldtimer car from 1917. Specially painted MB-339CD commemorating 90 Years XII Gruppo.
Lieutenant Pilot Maria Federica Maddalena posing in front of the special The other side of the aircraft, with 90 on the tail section.
Close-up of the horse. Good look of the artwork with the bow on the wings, and arrow on the nose. A better look at the arrow's point on the nose of the aircraft. 1917-2007 The MB-339CD combat capable trainers will be returned to 61 Stormo once more Typhoons arrive.
One of the liasion aircraft of 36 Stormo, the Piaggio P-180AM. The Tornado F.3 fighters of XII Gruppo were returned to the RAF after their lease expired, except for this tail
which remains at Gioia del Colle. Before inheriting the Tornado F.3 from 21 Gruppo, XII Gruppo used to operate the F-104 Starfighter. Another preserved aircraft of 36 Stormo, the MB-326, at Gioia del Colle. This preserved T-33 seems to been used for target towing in its final days with 36 Stormo.




Report and photos by Claudio Toselli ( view portfolio )