The Italian Air Force (Italian: Aeronautica Militare; AM) is the aerial defence force of the Italian Republic. The Air Force was founded as an independent service arm on 28 March 1923, by King Victor Emmanuel III as the Regia Aeronautica (which equates to "Royal Air Force"). After World War II, when Italy was made a republic by referendum, the Regia Aeronautica was given its current name. Since its formation the service has held a prominent role in modern Italian military history. The aerobatic display team is the Frecce Tricolori.
Among the earlier adopters of military aviation, Italy's air arm dates back to 1884, when the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) was authorised to acquire its own air component. The Air Service (Corpo Aeronautico Militare) operated balloons based near Rome. In 1911, reconnaissance and bombing sorties during the Italo-Turkish War by the Servizio Aeronautico represented the first ever use of heavier than air aircraft in armed conflict.
Founded 28 March 1923 as Regia Aeronautica
Type Air force
Role Aerial warfare
Size 43,000 personnel
Part of Stemma araldico e distintivo dello Stato Maggiore Italian Armed Forces
Italian AF motto
Latin: Virtute Siderum Tenus
(English: With valor to the stars)
"Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win"
"Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all we do"
The prototype first flew in late 1948, and completed certification tests in spring 1949. The Italian Air Force contracted for 14 P.136s for coastal patrol and air-sea rescue. The aircraft was marketed in the United States as the Royal Gull, by Kearney and Trecker.
The Aermacchi or Macchi MB-326 is a light military jet trainer designed in Italy. Originally conceived as a two-seat trainer, there have also been single and two-seat light attack versions produced.
The Alenia Aermacchi M-345 (M-311 before 2012) is a turbofan-powered military trainer aircraft. It is a development of the SIAI Marchetti S.211/Aermacchi S-211.