this already an old news in Italy but I think it is pretty fresh for this brand new forum.
The Italian Air Force, during the 1999 Allied Force Campaign over Kosovo, realized that its Air Defence instrument was no more responding to current threats so decided to look for an interim fighter in order to fill the gap untill the first EF-2000 TIFONE Squadron will be Combat Ready, in 2008.
After some months of comparison between the F-16, the Mirage 2000-5 and the renewal of the leasing of 24 RAF Tornado F.3, the Air Force finally opted for a leasing from the USAF of some F-16s.
The deal involves 38 machines: 30 F-16A-15 ADF (Air Defense Fighter), 4 F-16B-15 and 4 more for spares.
The fighters are former Air National Guard ADF variants, capable of firing AIM-7, AIM-120 and AIM-9 missiles.
So Italy becomes the 21st Nation to use the best selling Fighting Falcon / Viper.
The first examples are expected for the beginning of 2003.
I am happy of this decision and I can't wait to see an F-16 with my national colours but I want to add this:
LONG LIVE THE STARFIGHTER!!!!!