Italian weeks at Nörvenich
On Monday March 13th I visited Nörvenich airbase to witness the expected arrivals of nine Italian Panavia Tornados from 6° Stormo, that are based at Ghedi airbase located the northern part of Italy.
The day started very calm with only two local Eurofighter EF2000’s from Taktische Luftwaffengeschwader 31 ‘Boelcke‘ (TLG31) which departed for a short flight during the morning wave. Also one Bell UH-1D Huey from Transporthubschrauber-regiment 30 (THR30), deployed at Nörvenich for the SAR detachement ‘SAR 41’, departed for a local flight and was replaced in the afternoon by another UH-1D which came from Niederstetten.
Regular visitors at Nörvenich are the helicopters from the Bundespolizei located at Bonn-Hangelar and also today a Eurocopter EC135T2+ made several approaches on runway 25.
After they already did some practice above the Polygone Electric Warfare Range, located on the border between Germany and France, the first two Tornado ECR’s equipped with Raytheon AGM-88E ‘HARM’ air-to-surface missiles showed up above the airbase and these were followed soon by four other Tornado ECR’s and a single Tornado IDS carrying a Thomson Convertible Laser Designator Pod.
With the closure from Piacenza AFB and the relocation from 155°Gruppo in September 2016 to Ghedi Airbase, the Aeronautica Militare Italiana have centralized their entire current Tornado fleet at Ghedi Airbase, consisting of 102, 154 and 155°Gruppo.
Ground crew and equipment for the Italian deployment, which will last until March 24th arrived onboard an AMI Alenia C-27J Spartan based at Pisa and a German C-160D in a white color scheme, one of the last Transalls operated by LTG 61 at Landsberg, which will be celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2017. This will also be their last celebration, as LTG 61 will disband on December 31st, 2017.
Text and Photography: Edwin Huskens