“Deployed to Poland for the first time with its own fighter detachment, Italy is now the only Ally of the Atlantic Alliance to have participated in all Air Policing missions at home and abroad demonstrating its commitment to collective deterrence and defence,” said Colonel Salvatore Florio, the Italian Air Task Force commander.
Following the early achievement of Full Operational Capability on 30 July, four Italian Eurofighter carried out operational and training activities out of the Polish Air Force Base at Malbork. They provided Quick Reaction Alert duty for the Alliance from August 1 to December 1, 2022.
With an efficiency throughout the period of 97%, the Air Force’s Eurofighters carried out over 500 flight hours flying operational and training sorties. This includes almost two dozen Alert Scrambles order by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, in response to Russian aircraft operating without authorization in the area of responsibility of the Italian Eurofighters.
In addition to its primary task of ensuring 24/7 Quick Reaction Alert duties throughout the entire period, the Task Force was called upon to operate, among other things, alongside air and ground assets of various nations under the NATO Command and Control system. The Eurofighters also participated in Dissimilar Air Combat Training and air defence exercises designed to achieve air-to-air combat training objectives and integrate with Allied fighter aircraft. Flying Close Air Support sorties for ground contingents, the pilots achieved a high degree of interoperability with assets operating in Poland and other Alliance members Denmark and Germany and Partner Sweden.
During this period, thanks to the professionalism of the personnel and the efficiency of the aircraft deployed, the Task Force was able to flawlessly accomplish all the missions envisaged by NATO in this particularly sensitive and busy area,” said Colonel Florio.
The end of the Italian enhanced Air Policing in Poland is a prelude to the start – from December –of operations of an Italian Air Task Force in Romania, under the same NATO mission bolstering the Alliance’s deterrence and defence along the eastern flank. Another Allied fighter detachment is earmarked to deploy to Malbork in January to continue the enduring mission here.
“Interoperability among our allied air forces is crucial, especially to fulfil our peacetime Air Policing mission,” emphasized Col Florio. “The different Allies rotating on a four-month basis and working together with our Baltic Allies continuously improve integration of the NATO air forces,” he added.