The Italian Air Force has officially included the 51st Wing at Istrana Air Force Base, northern Italy, among the units responsible for national air defense. This follows the assignment of Eurofighter fighters to the 132nd Flight Group. The announcement brings the number of Eurofighter bases in Italy to four.

Eurofighter aircraft have been deployed at Istrana on QRA duties since 2017, though until now deployments were carried out in rotation by aircraft and crews from the 4th Wing in Grosseto (Tuscany), the 36th Wing in Gioia del Colle (Puglia) and 37th Wing in Trapani (Sicily).

The changes at Istrana Air Force Base — with the arrival of Eurofighter fighters to the 132nd Flight Group — represent the latest part of the 51st Wing’s current transformation 

This will eventually be concluded when the Eurofighter replaces the AMX aircraft. However, during the current transition phase, the 132nd Flight Squadron will operate two fleets simultaneously: one with Eurofighters providing the air defence requirements, the other with AMX aircraft carrying out tactical reconnaissance flights.

Work on the base, preparing for the permanent deployment of Eurofighters, took place last year. Key activity focused on the development of the maintenance bays for the Eurofighter line – these are specifically designed work areas that are fully equipped for technical inspections.

In 2019, following the activation of the maintenance bays of the Eurofighter line - specific work areas equipped for technical inspections - the 51st Wing reached full maintenance capacity, allowing the staff of the Gruppo Efficienza Aeromobili (GEA) at Istrana to take over the other Eurofighter Units in the aircraft maintenance cycle.

The Commander of the Combat Forces, General of Air Division Francesco Vestito, said: "The effort made by the 51st Wing, especially in this period of serious emergency for the country, is even more relevant because it testifies to the passion, motivation and sense of duty that have always characterized the daily work of the Air Force personnel.”

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