Italian Vipers: The Story Of The F-16 Fighting Falcon In Italian Air Force Service | Aviation

Itaf F 16 20.jpg

A formation of special colors: MM7253/40,000 FH; MM7240/”Green Lightning” for Masa’s 1,000FH; MM7249/X Gruppo Special for Cheero’s 1,000FH; MM7253/Veltro special for 90 years of 5° Stormo. (All images credit: Italian Air Force unless otherwise stated)

Under Peace Caesar program, the Italian Air Force operated a fleet of F-16A Block 15 ADF (Air Defense Fighter) jets upgraded with the “Falcon Up” and “Falcon 2020” modifications. Here’s their story.

On Jan. 20, 2024, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the “Electric Jet” or simply the “Viper”, as the F-16 is nicknamed by its crews, celebrated the 50th anniversary since its first flight. Throughout the years, the F-16s has become one of the world’s most numerous fighters in service with an active fleet of more than 2,100 aircraft in 25 countries (or 2,800 if we consider also training aircraft and non-combat roles).

For little less than a decade, the F-16 also served with the Italian Air Force, alongside the old F-104s and Tornado F.3s leased by the RAF and guaranteeing the air defense of Italy’s airspace .

Peace Caesar

The Peace Caesar program officially started on Mar. 15, 2001, with the signing of two Foreign Military Sales Cases following the…


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