Info - Luftwaffe at its best: 80 per cent operational readiness at Deci

80 per cent operational readiness, better than any other combat aircraft in-service with the Luftwaffe; 16 Eurofighter deployed to Decimomannu, Sardinia 300 people ; involved in the exercise, of which 19 pilots, 8 instructors, 5 operational pilots, 6 pilots in training, of which 4 were in transition from the Tornado. The focus: high value air combat training. That is, in short, the 2010 summer deployment of the Luftwaffe Eurofighters from JG 73 ("S") in Laage, Rostock, on the Baltic coast.

A batch of the wing's aircraft spent one month under the Sardinian skies to fine tune tactics, complete the training of student pilots and test the deployment of ground personnel as well as the logistical structure of the wing. All of that, whilst enjoying the sun of the Mediterranean island in the large air base - historically used by the Luftwaffe for training purposes.

The occasion proved a perfect opportunity for the Eurofighter PR team to bring along a group of international journalists to experience the Typhoon operations first hand.

A real benefit to all the Luftwaffe’s operations in “Deci” come from the large area of free air-space that allows supersonic flight and unlimited manoeuvres in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea and within the vicinity with Grosseto Air Base on the coast of Toscana. The Italian Eurofighters in residence, are the elite 4th Stormo fighters, who were happy to clash daily with their German colleagues in a variety of air-to-air encounters that ranged from the BVR, beyond visual range combat, to the medium-range using infra-red missiles, up to the very short range, where the combat is often decided by the cannon. This is a role where the Eurofighter excels, as the aircraft is not only the best performing aircraft at high altitude, in the high-speed arena, but also a master in agility and manoeuvrability. "You can never know which kind of threat you could be forced to face" - said Lt. Col. Gerd Estendorfer, the commander of the detatchment - "better to be prepared for all the potential scenarios". After the 11th September, all the air forces are re-evaluating their air defence and air policing capabilities and the short-range visual interception is now much more important than in the past.

Andrea Truppo, chief operations of the 4th Stormo, said: "during this exercise we have flown four Eurofighters in support of the Luftwaffe aircraft/Typhoons “playing” all the possible scenarios. We are flying “with” them and “against” them so that it is possible to validate all the tactics and the procedures. The final result is that we have a very high degree of standardisation and of operational integration”. This is, for sure, one of the best benefits that the Eurofighter has brought to the air forces in Europe: A common platform, common systems, common training, common logistics and ground support, so there are less costs and better efficiency and effectiveness.