Squadron Exchanges 1996

18 till 27 June 1996

This month Belgium Air Force nr 1 Escadrille at Florennes, flying the F-16A, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 23 Gruppo based at Cervia AB, flying the F-104S/ASA. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way squadron exchange but at least five Italian Starfighters flew to Belgium being MM6770/5-30, MM6795/5-40, MM6812/5-33, MM6881/5-42 and MM6920/5-35. On the 18th aircraft 5-30 and 5-42 arrived, the next day aircraft 5-33 and 5-35 joined the group. Finally aircraft 5-40 arrived at the 25th of June. All aircraft flew back to Italy on the 27th except 5-40 which departed the 28th.

July 1996

This month the Spanish Air Force ALA 14 flying the Mirage F1CE/EE and based at Albacete, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 18 Gruppo based at Trapani-Birgi AB, flying the F-104S/ASA. It was a 2 way shifted squadron exchange. First 18 Gruppo Starfighters flew to Albacete, then later the ALA 14 Mirages operated from Trapani.

27 August till 5 September 1996

This month the Hellenic Air Force 343 Mira, flying the F-5A, based at Thessaloniki, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 22 Gruppo based at Istrana AB, flying the F-104S/ASA. It was a 2 way squadron exchange. However the four Italian Starfighters, being MM6817/51-02, MM6764/51-03, MM6721/51-06 and MM6804/51-07, flew from Araxos AB!! This was because the F-5 base did not have a runway barrier-cable system available which is needed for F-104 emergency situations.
Photo beneath show the F-5s and F-104s in formation, likely taken during the arrival of the F-5 at Istrana Air Base. Also a photo taken at Araxos by Nikos Spanos showing one of the participating F-104s. We still are wondering which of the Araxos based squadrons hosted the stay of the Italians, 335 or 336 Mira.


26 August till 4 September 1996

This period French Navy squadron 12F at Landivisiau, flying the F-8E(FN) Crusader, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 10 Gruppo based at Grazzanise AB, flying the F-104S/ASA. It was a 2 way shifted squadron exchange where 4 Starfighters participated being MM6749/9-41 , MM6873/9-31, MM6934/9-51 and MM6937/9-42. On the 28th till 29th two aircraft MM6808/9-30 and MM6720/9-40 both visited the delegation at France. The French Crusaders were seen at Grazzanise already in May 1996.

Unknown period in 1996

This year the Spanish Air Force squadron Grupo 15 based at Zaragoza AB, flying the EF-18A+ Hornet, exchanged with the Italian Air Force 9 Gruppo based at Grosseto AB, flying the F-104S/ASA. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way squadron exchange but most likely one-way, only the Starfighters to Zaragoza. (The Spanish squadron was named Grupo 15 at this period, before and later on it was named Ala 15)

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