THE ITALIAN AIR force has deployed for the first time Panavia Tornados modified to carry Thomson-CSF CLDP laser designators and Texas Instruments Paveway II laser-guided bombs (LGBs). The air force is also carrying the Paveway IIs on its AMX attack aircraft.

Six Tornado interdictor-strike aircraft were modified initially by Alenia and the air force's Tornado maintenance centre at Cameri. The aircraft were returned to air force service at the end of 1995 and are now allocated in support of NATO air operations in Bosnia.

Carriage trials of the Paveway II (GBU-16) have already begun on the AMX, with the aim of using the CLDP-equipped Tornado for target designation. The air force also intends to procure Paveway III LGBs for its Tornados. LGBs with Israeli Elbit Opher LGBs will also be carried by AMXs.

The air force has also modified 20 Tornados to carry the Texas Instruments AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile. The first batch of missiles is due to be delivered by the end of 1996.

Source: Flight International