The pilot of a small twin-engine touring aircraft does not respond to radio calls while flying in national airspace, the alarm goes off due to what in technical jargon is defined as a "comloss", the prolonged absence of radio contact with the air traffic, one of the situations for which the immediate intervention of the Air Force interceptor fighters may be necessary to go and intercept the aircraft involved, check the situation and give assistance to the pilot if necessary.
This is what happened late yesterday afternoon, when the combined air operation centre (CAOC) of Torrejon (Spain), the NATO body that carries out surveillance of the airspace south of the Alps, from the Canary Islands to Turkey and from the Azores Islands to Romania, ordered the immediate take-off - the "scramble" - of two aircraft Euro Fighter of the 4th wing of Grosseto, in alert service for the defense of national airspace, with the task of going to check what was happening to this tourist aircraft flying from France to southern Italy and with which, as mentioned, it was not possible to make radio contact. In a few minutes, the two fighters - under the guidance of the Air Defense controllers of the 11th DAMI group of Poggio Renatico - reached the small plane, at Circeo, and after coming into visual contact with the pilot and having having verified that the same had regularly resumed the previously interrupted contact, they returned to the Tuscan air base to resume the alarm service.
The service is guaranteed – for the surveillance, identification and control part – by the 11th group Integrated Missile Air Defense (DAMI) of Poggio Renatico (Fe) and by the 22nd Radar group of Licola (Naples), while there are four flocks of the Air Force that with the assets Euro Fighter the 4th wing of Grosseto, the 36th wing of Gioia del Colle, the 37th wing of Trapani and the 51st wing of Istrana ensure the Air Defense service. Furthermore, since March 2018, the F-35A aircraft of the 32nd wing of Amendola have also been integrated into the national air defense system, which contribute, with specific operational capabilities and latest generation technology, to the defense of the Italian skies and which have been the first 5th generation aircraft to be used by NATO to guard Alliance airspace in a NATO deployment operation Air Policing.