Decimomannu Air Base, Sardinia

In 1979 US Air Forces in Europe began regular air-to-air training missions at the new Decimomannu Advanced Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation range, Sardinia. This USAFE operation is located at the large Italian Air Base on Sardinia which conducts air combat maneuvering and dissimilar air combat training for NATO forces. It is administered by Det 4 of the 40th Support Wing. Decimomannu is a fantastic place to train. The base has an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation [ACMI] that can't be beat for debriefing. And they have a bombing range nearby at Cappa Frasca. Air Force training provides the unique opportunity to fly air-to-air training missions against a variety of German and Italian aircraft, including F-4 Phantoms, F-104 Star Fighters, and, most exciting of all, MiG-29 Fulcrums.

The Decimomannu installation was completed in late 1979 and consists of a Tracking Instrumentation Subsystem (TIS), Control and Computation Subsystem (CCS), Display and Debriefing Subsystem (DDS), and an Airborne Instrumentation Subsystem (AIS). The CCS and DDS, located at Decimomannu AB, provide real-time monitoring and post mission display of up to eight participating aircraft (A/C) during air-to-air training engagements. The air-to-air engagement area is located off the Southwest coast of Sardinia. Tracking of the participating aircraft is accomplished by use of a multilateration positioning function employing a TIS master and seven remote radio ranging/data units that communicate with the (AIS) pods carried by the aircraft. The TIS master and one remote unit are located at an isolated land site and six remote units are installed on sea buoys anchored in the Mediterranean Sea off the southwest coast of Sardina. The remote units are controlled by and communicate with the TIS master station through a radio data link. The contracted portion of the upgrade consists of replacement of the CCS and DDS hardware with commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware. The current CCS uses the Concurrent 3200 series computers configured to support an eight A/C system. There are currently several computer systems available from commercial sources that meet the requirements for a 36 A/C CCS. The DDS was replaced with the Advanced Display and Debriefing Subsystem (ADDS) which was acquired by the USAF. The CCS and ADDS software is owned by the USAF and will be provided as Government-furnished software.

On June 1, 1995 Loral Training & Technical Services, Horsham, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $12,600,000 Firm Fixed Price contract six years of operations and maintenance services for the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation range at Decimomannu Air Base in Sardinia, Italy. Contract is expected to be completed September 2000. There were 27 firms solicited and 4 firms submitted proposals. Solicitation began February 1995 and negotiations were complete May 1995. USAFE Contracting Squadron, Decimomannu Air Base, Decimomannu, Sardinia, Italy is the contracting activity.

Most people associate Aviano with Deny Flight Operations over Bosnia. Many pilots of the 510th and its sister F-16 squadron, the 555th, had flown over Bosnia from Aviano for most three years without much attention. Until recently, that is. The squadrons fly these missions for two-month shifts every six months. The units spend two of the remaining four months training at Aviano and two months deployed. On one such deployment in 1994 to Decimomannu Air Base on the southern tip of Sardinia. The more complex engagements were simultaneously monitored by ground controllers who used the air combat maneuvering instrumentation facilities at Decimomannu to guide the aerial combatants. The ACMI facilities were also used by the aircrews to review the engagements.

During May, 1995 at the Air Weapons Training Installation, Decimomannu, Sardinia three nations' aircraft flew in a joint training effort practicing Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT). The 510th Fighter Squadron of Aviano, Italy participated with F-16s.

More than 120 members of the 510th Fighter Squadron returned home 26 May 1997 following a three-week training deployment to Decimomannu, Sardinia, where they slugged it out with their German counterparts in "friendly" competition at the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Range. The deployment featured two of the world's best fighters -- the F-16 Fighting Falcon and MiG 29 Fulcrum -- pitted against each other in "dissimilar" air-to-air combat tactics.

In August 1998 Eurofighter GmbH of Germany reported that one of its development aircraft, Eurofighter DA7, had successfully completed a significant milestone as part of Eurofighter's ongoing development program. Operating out of the Italian Air Force base at Decimomannu in Sardinia, the DA7 successfully carried out the first jettison of a 1000-liter fuel tank by a Eurofighter - an important routine combat procedure. The DA7 was carrying the 1000-liter tank under its starboard side center wing station, and jettisoned it from 5000 feet while cruising in level flight at 350 knots.

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