The Italian Thunderflashes were based at Villafranca, in northern Italy. The 78 Italian aircraft started entering AMI service in 1956, equipping the 3rd Aerobrigata (Wing), replacing RF-84G Thunderjets. The 3rd Wing made a conversion to the RF-104G Starfighter in 1970.
This gallery features pictures of aircraft that have been disposed of or preserved in one way or another; the airframes depicted here (gate-guards, monuments, eye-catchers, etc.) are photographed in the years 2011 onward. Airframes pictured in earlier years are in a separate gallery. Note that some of the aircraft portrayed here are no longer present at the given location.
W&R portrayed in the USA are dealt with in a separate gallery (also in this album “Preserved Aircraft”).
In ITALY the Thunderstreaks equipped 8 air force squadrons: 5th at Rimini, 6th at Ghedi, 8th at Cervia, 36th at Goia del Colle, 50th at Piacenza and the 51st at Istrana. Some Streaks were kept in service till 1972 when the 50th squadron at Piacenza was re-equipped with the F-104S Starfighter.
On July 17th, 1973 Hans and Frank visited the NATO-AIRSOUTH Fighter Weapons Meet BEST HIT, which was held at Istrana AB in Italy. Competing were teams of USAFE (613 TFS , 401 TFW, Torrejon ,Spain), US Navy (Carrier Attack Wing 7 , USS Independence) , Italian AF (8th Wing , Cervia) , Hellenic AF (341 sq., Nea Anghialos) and Turkish AF (192 sq.,Balikesir) . Photography appeared to be not allowed (!) during their visit and instead all the pictures shown in this gallery were taken by NATO-AIRSOUTH PR-officials during their walk-around along the flight-lines. The slide-scans are duplicates issued to them for publication together with the group-pictures.