The Italian air force has outlined its use of air-to-ground munitions in Libya, more than 40 days after the nation's government approved offensive missions in support of NATO's Operation Unified Protector.
Panavia Tornado IDS and ECR aircraft are being used for air-to-ground, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, buddy-buddy refuelling and the suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) missions.
The former carry the CLDP targeting pod and a range of weapons, including Raytheon Paveway II laser-guided GBU-16s and Enhanced Paveway II GPS/laser-guided EGBU-16 455kg (1,000lb) bombs. Other options include Paveway/Enhanced Paveway III 907kg conventional or BLU-109 penetrating munitions, and 455kg bombs equipped with Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance kit.
Both images © Troupe Azzurra
Tornado IDS in the so-called "Ret 6" first mid-life update standard have also employed MBDA's Storm Shadow cruise missile, marking the type's first operational deployment in Italian service. The IDS aircraft is also meeting ISR demands using Rafael's RecceLite pod.
© Troupe Azzurra
According to military sources, the air-to-ground missions are being accomplished with success, as are SEAD operations involving Raytheon AGM-88 HARM-equipped Tornado ECRs.
Source: Flight International