Exercise Report : SAR Exercise GRIFONE 2005
Giampaolo Tonello visited the SAR Exercise GRIFONE in 2005 and kindly provided us with his report and photos.
In 2005, the SAR exercise 'GRIFONE' was held from October the 24th until the 28th at Grazzanise in Italy.
Grazzanise, near Napoli, is home of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI - Italian Air Force) 9° Stormo, which flies the Agusta-Bell AB-212AM helicopter in the Search and Rescue (SAR) role with the 609ª Squadriglia Collegamenti. The 609ª SC is the only flying unit at Grazzanise since the 10° Gruppo ended its operations with the F-104 Starfighters. It also flies one SIAI-Marchetti S.208M and some Aermacchi MB-339A/MLU on loan from 61ª Brigata Aerea.
GRIFONE is a multi-national SAR exercise involving member countries of the SARMEDOCC (Search and Rescue Mediterranean Occidental). The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the inter-operability between countries and their rapid deployment capability in the SAR role both at sea as well as over land. Missions were flown south of Napoli for the sea and inside the Napoli territory for the ground operations. This year's event saw the participation of Italy, France, Spain and Malta involving about 18 aircraft and helicopters.
During our visit we also spotted a C-130J from 46ª Brigata Aerea which was used for the press flight, a U.S. Navy MH-60S from HSC-28 performing touch & go's and also a 37° Stormo F-16ADF; in fact many pilots of 37° Stormo's 18° Gruppo were former 10° Gruppo pilots flying the venerable F-104 Starfighter and it is quite common to see a F-16ADF paying a visit to “Grazza”.
Report and photos by Giampaolo Tonello ( view portfolio )