In the Gulf of Taranto, Donald Cook rendezvoused with four Italian AV-8B Harrier II Plus fighter and attack aircraft based in NAS Sigonella, Italy. Air Intercept Controllers onboard the ship took tactical control of two Italian fighter aircraft and directed their employment against hostile aircraft simulated by the other two fighters. The air-to-air training exercise provided realistic training in combining maritime and air assets to achieve a common mission.
The AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family. Capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), the aircraft was designed in the late 1970s as an Anglo-American development of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational V/STOL aircraft. Currently, the Italian Navy has a total of 14 AV-8B Harrier that will be replaced in the future by F-35B…
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