MILAVIA > Specials > 25 Years 83° Centro CSAR, Rimini AB Last updated: 1 April 2013
MILAVIA Military Aviation Specials

Special Markings : 25 Years 83° Centro CSAR, Rimini AB


Claudio Toselli visited the 83° Centro CSAR at Rimini air base and kindly provided us with his report and photos of the specially marked HH-3F to celebrate the unit's 25 year annivesary of operations from Rimini AB.


On May 27th, 2006, the 83° CENTRO CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI - Italian Air Force) 15° Stormo celebrated 25 years of operations from the Rimini air base. For the occassion these special markings were applied to HH-3F MM81341 '15-29', referring to the old paint scheme. Many years ago before taking on the CSAR role, the "Pelicans" were painted in white and yellow.

The 83° Centro CSAR is one of the Italian Air Force's five Centri CSAR:

  • 81° Centro Addestramento Equipaggi, Pratica di Mare (training unit)
  • 82° Centro CSAR, Trapani-Birgi
  • 83° Centro CSAR, Rimini
  • 84° Centro CSAR, Brindisi
  • 85° Centro CSAR, Pratica di Mare

The history of 83° Centro CSAR goes back to 1925, when the unit was first established as 83° Gruppo of 27° Stormo. The maritime reconnaissance unit was then part of the Auxiliary Air Force (Aviazione Ausiliaria) for the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) and subordinate of the Comando Aeronautica Sicilia (Sicilian Aviation Command).

After the long and troubled events of the Second World War, the 83° was refounded in Brindisi equipped with CRDA (Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico - Adriatic United Shipyards) CANTZ 501 and 506 seaplanes.From 1948 onwards the unit became part of the Comando Soccorso Aereo (Air Rescue Command) in Taranto and in 1959 its name was changed to Centro Coordinamento e Soccorso (Coordination and Rescue Centre).


In 1958, the 83° arrived in Rimini taking on the Search and Rescue (SAR) role with the Sikorsky HH-3F Pellicano helicopter with two Squadriglie (Flights); 141^ and 147^. In 1995 the role changed to Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) and the helicopters received the current camouflaged colour scheme.

Currently still flying the A and B standards, the unit 83° Gruppo CSAR will soon receive the upgraded "Charlie" variant of the HH-3F. AgustaWestland will fit a new integrated avionics suite at its plant at Brindisi, Italy. The upgrade includes LCD displays, upgraded navigation system with GPS, head-up display, improved communications suite (with SICRAL encryption system), NVG compatible cockpit, as well as upgraded defensive suite with a radar and laser warning system and a modified winch. The first upgraded HH-3F was delivered on March 8 2006 to 15° Stormo 85° Gruppo SAR based at Pratica di Mare. (see also First Upgraded HH-3F Delivered)


From 15 July 2003 onwards, the 83° Centro CSAR deployed to Iraq as part of the Italian Joint Task Force operation Antica Babilonia ("Ancient Babylon"), based at Tallil airport under command of the 6° Reparto Operativo Autonomo (ROA - Autonomous Operative Detachment).









Report and photos by Claudio Toselli ( view portfolio )

First Published: 13 June 2006
Last Modified: 1 April 2013