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Austria Looks at Eurofighter Logistics, Flies M-346

An Austrian Air Force delegation led by Brigadier General Hubert Norbret visited Italian Air Force operational and support units to obtain first-hand information in support of the introduction of the Eurofighter Typhoon into Austrian service. Austria is the fifth customer for the state-of-the-art Typhoon and received the first two aircraft of the 15 on order in late 2007.

The visit began at Grosseto air base, home to the 4th Wing, whose commanding officer Col. Vincenzo Nuzzo introduced the Austrian colleagues to the activities of its two squadrons. The 9th Squadron flies the Eurofighter in the air defence role, while the 20th serves as operational conversion unit. The 20th is currently training the pilots for the third Italian Eurofighter squadron.

The Austrian delegation departed Grosseto in an Alenia Aeronautica C-27J provided by the 46th Air Brigade at Pisa.

The next stop was Cameri, where the ITAF has established its main Eurofighter support and logistics installation. Cameri also trains all Eurofighter technical and maintenance staff. From Cameri the delegation proceeded to the Alenia Aermacchi factory at Venegono for briefings on the new M-346 advanced and lead-in fighter trainer.

Two Austrian pilots made flights with the M-346 to essay its technical and training qualities. Both came away with extremely positive impressions, due to the high training effectiveness and considerable “downloading” potential shown by the programme and the aircraft, which make the M-346 a true generational and conceptual leap in military pilot training, particularly well suited to prepare pilots for the Eurofighter and other fourth and fifth generation combat aircraft.

Finally, the Austrian delegation visited the air combat training installations at Decimomannu air base in Sardinia and examined the preparations under way for the coming Spring Flag exercise.

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The Austrian Air Force Explores Typhoon Logistics and Flies the M-346