20-24 September 2021 – Sardinia

It took place, from 20 to the 24 last September, the international air search and rescue exercise GRIFONE 21.

Organized by the Air Force, with the support of the National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps, has engaged means and men of Defense, of Bodies and State Administrations.
Planned and conducted by the Air Force through the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) of the Aerospace Operations Command (COA) under the international agreement SAR.MED.OCC. (SAR Western Mediterranean), it affected the mountainous south-western area of ​​Sardinia, including Mount "Linas" and the area of ​​the "Perd’e Pibera" park.

The main purpose of the "Grifone 2021" was to consolidate the synergies already developed between the Air Force and the other Armed Forces, State bodies and other public departments to constantly improve techniques and procedures in the field of Air Search and Rescue, in order to save lives.
While not participating, year, foreign crews, the international presence was guaranteed by numerous delegations of Observers coming from 11 different countries.

The Decimomannu Air Force base (THAT) was used as a redeployment basis, while the “Xptz” Flight Field of Decimoputzu (ITS) it was the so-called PBA (Advanced Basic Mail): a real field heliport from where the aircraft involved took off and the rescue teams operated. The media day in which AviaSpotter.it was authorized to participate was also held here.

Several aircraft engaged in the complex exercise scenario: HH-139A of the 15th Wing - 80th CSAR Center and TH-500 of the 72nd Wing and the Linate Connections Squadron were used for the Italian Air Force (ME). Also, BH-412 of the Italian Army, AW-109 Nexus of the Carabinieri, AW-139 and AW-169 of the Guardia di Finanza, AW-139 of the State Police, AW-139 of the Fire Brigade, AW-139 of the Port Authority and the support of 1 EC -145 by AREUS (Sardinian Urgency Regional Company).
The land rescue teams were mainly provided by the Alpine and Speleological Rescue of Sardinia, to which specialized teams of the "Air Riflemen" of the 16th Wing of the Air Force have been added, personnel of the Italian Army, the Guardia di Finanza, Fire Department, of the Civil Protection and Forestry Corps of the Sardinia Region.

The activity was concentrated on Tuesdays 21 is Wednesday 22, reserving for Friday 24 the opportunity to show the media the training results achieved and the skills expressed by all participating administrations.
In the end, the activity materialized in 100 sorties between day and night with the use of NVG (Night Vision Goggles). The helicopters flew for almost 48 hours, moving 65 military and civilian teams, also including 3 CNSAS dog teams

Our correspondent Roberto Zanza had the privilege of participating also on the day 21 and sent us the following report, rich not only in photographs of the rotary wing vehicles involved but, above all, of the human element of the exercise. Not just machines, but also women and men (often volunteers), without which the rescue missions could not be carried out. So here are the faces of the participants, means hidden by the now ubiquitous masks: you can see only the eyes that show commitment, concentration, determination and professionalism. We often forget that the wonderful flying machines we like so much, they need Pilots, Specialists and Rescuers, military and civilian, without which the tool, simply, It's useless.

You photograph them

Text: Air Force and Fabio Tognolo
Photo: AviaSpotter.it (© Roberto Zanda)