Squadron Exchanges 1988

April 1988

This month the Belgium Air Force 349 Squadron, based at Beauvechain AB, flying the F-16A, held a squadron exchange with one of the two F-104G operated squadrons (141 or 142 Filo) at Murted AB. Sadly this was a one-way exchange without having Turkish Starfighters in Belgium. Only the Belgium squadron flew to Turkey.

 12 till 21 April 1988

This month the German Air Force JG71, based at Wittmundhafen AB, flying the F-4F Phantom, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 9 Gruppo based at Grosseto, flying the F-104S. It was a 2-way exchange. At least four (unidentified) Italian Starfighters flew to Germany.

26 April till 4 May 1988

In total four Italian Starfighters from 18 Gruppo based at Trapani-Birgi AB exchanged with Belgium Air Force 350 Squadron (1 Wing) at Beauvechain AB, flying the F-16A Falcon. Participating aircraft in Belgium were MM6760/37-01, MM6749/37-15, MM6846/37-16 and MM6909/37-23. It is unknown if also the Belgium F-16s flew to Italy. Beneath two photos taken at Beauvechain by Riccardo Vestuto on May 3rd.

MM6760_37-01_Bevekom_1988MM6909_37-23_Beauvechain_1988
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Spring 1988

This period the Royal Air Force 17 Squadron, flying the Tornado GR.1, based at Bruggen, exchanged with an unknown Turkish F-104 unit. It was a one-way exchange, only the Tornado's flew to Turkey.

18 till 27 May 1988

This month the Belgium Air Force 23 Smaldeel, operating the F-16A from Kleine Brogel, exchanged with Hellenic Air Force 336 Mira, flying the F-104G at Araxos. It was a one-way exchange, sadly only the Belgium F-16s flew to Greece.

22 till late May 1988

This month the Turkish Air Force 162 Filo (6 AJU), based at Bandirma AB, flying the F-104G, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 21 Gruppo based at Cameri, flying the F-104S. It was a 2-way exchange. Six Turkish Starfighters flew to Italy being F-104G 7017/6-107, 7032/6-032, 8339/6-339 and TF-104G 5722/6-722, 5741/6-741, 5945/6-945. Turkish transport was flown by C-160D Transall with serial 12-028. Photos beneath were taken by Giuseppe Tonelotto when the Turkish aircraft arrived at Cameri on 22 May 1988.

7017_Cameri_19887032_Cameri_19888339_Cameri_1988
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5722_Cameri_19885741_Cameri_19885945_Cameri_1988
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7 till 16 June 1988

This month the German Air Force JBG49, based at Furstenfeldbruck, flying the Alpha Jet, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 20 Gruppo based at Grosseto, flying the TF-104G. It has not yet been confirmed as a 2-way exchange. On 26 April 1988 three TF-104Gs MM54233/4-30, MM54254/4-36 and MM45258/4-40 arrived at Furstenfeldbruck for a pre-visit. They stayed the night at Fursty. Participating TF-104G during the exchange itself were MM54235/4-31 (from 7-16 June), MM54250/4-33 (from 10-16 June), MM54254/4-36 (from 7-16 June), MM54258/4-40 (from 9-16 June) and MM54260/4-41 (on 7 and 8 June). Transport was taken care for by G-222 MM62102/46-20 on June 7th and G-222 MM61998/46-21 on June 8th. Some believe the Alpha Jets from JBG49 were also in Grosseto but we are still looking for evidence. Who can help?

11 till 20 July 1988

In total four Italian Starfighters from 22 Gruppo based at Istrana AB exchanged with Royal Air Force 111 Squadron at Leuchars flying the Phantom FG.1 fighter jets. The participating Starfighters, which flew via EDAB, were MM6879/51-03, MM6716/51-06, MM6876/51-07 and MM6819/51-20. All aircraft departed from Istrana on July 11th. In total four Phantoms flew to Italy as well on the 11th. Interesting detail is the fact that while on exchange at Leuchars, two F-104s went to Keflavik (Iceland). Photos beneath show aircraft 51-07 and 51-20 at Leuchars (sadly unknown photographer).

MM6876_F-104S_51-07_51_Leuchars_1988MM6819_F-104S_51-20_Leuchars_1988
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19 till 26 July 1988

This month the Royal Air Force 15 Squadron, flying the Tornado GR.1, based at Laarbruch, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 102 Gruppo based at Rimini, flying the F-104S. It was a 2-way exchange. Participating Starfighters seen at Laarbruch were MM6796/5-15, MM6833/5-11, MM6910/5-04 and MM6944/5-03. Transport was flown by C-130H MM62001/46-15. One month earlier 2 aircraft paid a pre-visit to Laarbruch. These were MM6788/5-02 and MM6796/5-15 which landed May 30th and departed again on June 1st. All aircraft received a typical 15 Squadron zapp "XV" on their lower rudder area. Beneath two photos, one of the line up and one of aircraft 5-03 showing clearly the XV zapp.

Laarbrug_rot_1988MM6944_5-03_Laarbruch_1988
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25 July till 3 August 1988

This period the Royal Air Force 43 Squadron, flying the Phantom FG.1, based at Leuchars, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 10 Gruppo based at Grazzanise, flying the F-104S. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2-way exchange but at least the Italian Starfighters flew to the UK. Participating aircraft seen at Leuchars included MM6727/9-40, MM6878/9-41, MM6762/9-42, and MM6769/9-52. On 29 July two other F-104S aircraft arrived as replacement for two of these four aircraft. These were MM6737/9-33 and MM6719/9-50.

3 till 11 August 1988

In total four Italian Starfighters from 28 Gruppo based at Villafrance AB exchanged with German Air Force JBG41 at Husum flying the Alpha Jet. It was a 2 way exchange . Starfighters seen in Germany were : MM6634/3-33, MM6563/3-43, MM6635/3-30 and MM6651/3-47. Beneath two photos showing Starfighter MM6563 code 3-43 over Germany on August 5th (Thanks to Stefan Petersen)

MM6563_3-43_05aug88_SqExchange_StefanPetersenXMM6563 F-104G 3-43 Germany 05Aug1988_Stefan Petersen_X
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August 1988

This month the Danish Air Force 726 Eskadrille, based at Aalborg, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 23 Gruppo based at Rimini, flying the F-104S. It was a two-way shifted exchange. The Italians were seen in Denmark in August while the F-16A's flew to Italy in September for their shift. Aircraft at Aalborg were F-104S/ASA MM6708 code 5-43, MM6776 no code, MM6787 code 5-42 and finally MM6933 with code 5-33. These aircraft received 726 ESK badges on their tails, also seen on August 24th.

September 1988

This month the Spanish Air Force ALA 21 at Moron, flying the SF-5A, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 12 Gruppo based at Gioia del Colle, flying the F-104S. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2-way exchange.

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