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Italy tests Eurofighter Typhoon's air-to-air pedigree

The Italian air force's RSV flight test unit has conducted an extensive trials campaign to assess the Eurofighter Typhoon's weapon systems capabilities across 25 different air-to-air scenarios.

Conducted over the Decimomannu range in Sardinia last month and totalling around 60 flight hours, the work was conducted using three Typhoons from the air force's 9th Group assigned to the 4th Wing at Grosseto air base, plus Alenia Aeronautica's instrumented production aircraft IPA2.

Air force aircraft were for the first time equipped with prototype autonomous air-combat manoeuvring instrumentation pods to allow them to record inflight targeting data, while the industry-supplied aircraft used its onboard test instruments.

 
© Geoffrey Lee/Eurofighter

Raytheon's AIM-120 AMRAAM beyond visual-range air-to-air missile was the primary weapon system used during the trials campaign, which included 1 v 1, 1 v 2 and 2 v 2 simulated engagements.

The results of the work are currently being analysed as part of an evaluation of the Typhoon's entire avionics system, in particular its fire control and identification friend-or-foe systems, which rely on fused radar and sensor data. The findings will be instrumental in preparing the operational tactics for Italy's Typhoon strike aircraft fleet.

Italy's RSV unit leads the Eurofighter programme's test centre armament working group, which is responsible for conducting weapon system assessments on behalf of partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Italy's 4th Wing currently uses the Typhoon for air policing duties, while the air force's 36th Wing at Gioia del Colle is also taking delivery of the type to replace its interim batch of Lockheed Martin F-16s.

 

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