Rome 17 December 2018
Two F-2000 Eurofighter jets have scrambled to intercept a civilian aircraft – belonging to an Australian airline and flying from Crete to Spain- that had lost radio contact. Communication was interrupted while the aircraft was crossing Italy’s airspace.
The two Air Force interceptor aircraft from 37th Wing-Trapani, having established that no emergency conditions existed and restored communication, resumed their surveillance task.
The scramble order was issued by Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) –Torrejon (Spain), the NATO headquarters in charge of surveillance in that area, while the Italian Air Force Air Defence and Surveillance System’s Operations Room provided control over the operation.
Ensuring continued surveillance of the national airspace is one of the tasks implemented by the Italian Air Force.
Control over the Air Defence System is a NATO task. Surveillance over the airspace south of the Alps, from the Canary Islands to Turkey and from the Azores Islands to Romania, was assigned by the Alliance to CAOC -Torrejon.
When an emergency is detected, the national Air Operations Centre (AOC) is in charge of organizing the air defence service by implementing a fundamental continued surveillance task.
When a threat against the Italian airspace is detected,- e.g. when a civilian aircraft implements unusual manoeuvers while crossing the national airspace- AOC-IT takes back control of interceptor aircraft entrusted to NATO for the subsequent counter-action.