Italian Air Force Performed First-Ever Elephant Walk With Eurofighter Typhoon

Italian Air Force Performed First-Ever Elephant Walk With Eurofighter Typhoon
Credits: Aeronautica Militare

On Jun. 25, 2020, the 36° Stormo of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force – ItAF) successfully completed a Wing exercise that involved 12x F-2000 (as the Eurofighter Typhoon is designated in Italian service) as well as 1x KC-130J of the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) from Pisa, and a G.550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft belonging to the 14° Stormo, from Pratica di Mare.

As part of the readiness exercise, 11 F-2000s took part in the first ever “Elephant Walk” of the Italian Air Force at least in the last decades: based on our records, in the past, some sort of close-interval-taxi exercises were carried out by C-119 Flying Boxcars.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard–delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments and equipment, including Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles. The Typhoon had its combat debut during the 2011 military intervention in Libya with the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Italian Air Force, performing aerial reconnaissance and ground-strike missions. The type has also taken primary responsibility for air-defence duties for the majority of customer nations.

An elephant walk is a term for the taxing of military aircraft right before takeoff when they are in close formation. Often, it takes place right before a Minimum Interval Takeoff. The term elephant walks dates to World War II when large fleets of allied bombers would conduct attacks in missions containing 1,000 aircraft.

Those who observed this said that the taxing of these large numbers of aircraft to takeoff in single file in nose-to-tail formations said that they looked like elephants walking to the next watering hole.

Over time, it was incorporated into the lexicon of the United States Air Force to identify a “maximum sortie surge”.

Tactical use of the benefits of an elephant walk includes being able to show the capability of the units as well as teamwork.

It is often performed to prepare squadrons for wartime operations, as well as prepare pilots for the launching of fully armed aircraft in one mass event

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