On 28 March 1923, Italy decided to equip itself with an Air Force independent of the other Armed Forces of the State. Italian aviators finally saw their desire for independence fulfilled, developing the skills that had arisen in the skies during the Great War and strengthened by the visions of the first visionaries of air power. The Regia Aeronautica was established, a new entity that incorporated the existing air forces of the Army and Navy of the Kingdom of Italy. Like the other two armed forces, the Aeronautica had its own uniform and badges of rank and speciality. In the period following the foundation, great emphasis was placed on the aviation industry so that, by the end of 1923, there were more than three hundred operational aircraft at the available to the new Armed Forces. The men in blue performed memorable feats aboard craft that today would give even the most experienced pilot cause for concern. In 1946, after the terrible experience of the Second World War, the Arma Azzurra took on its current name, Aeronautica Militare, and reorganised itself to defend the peace of the newly constituted Italian Republic. In 1949, Italy also joined NATO and this allowed the Aeronautica to expand its horizons, actively confronting and growing with the allied military aviation, while the geopolitical context of the two blocs, Western and Soviet, began to take shape, which would characterise the following decades.
From the early 1990s to the present day, the Air Force has been increasingly committed to protecting the world’s interests of democracy and ensuring respect for human rights, offering a very valuable contribution to the community, paid for, at times, with the extreme sacrifice of its personnel, engaged in the most diverse international scenarios.
The past century has thus been marked by epic achievements, performed by exceptional men and women who have flown increasingly high-performance aircraft with ever more advanced technological features. An exciting journey made of dedication and silent self-sacrifice, that of the Air Force personnel who every day carry out their duty inspired by the same founding values that guided the first pioneers of the air.
Over these 100 years, the growth of the Aeronautica Militare has represented and still represents the evolution of the national defence instrument, whose constant updating enables Italy to defend democratic principles from possible violations of the peace and freedom guaranteed to all citizens.
The contemporary Air Force
The essential mission of the Air Force and all the Armed Forces is the defence of the State and the safeguarding of free institutions from all possible threats. However, the nature of this mission has changed significantly in recent years, in relation to the evolution of the international scenario. Today, the broadness and unpredictability of future threats require the development of capabilities for prevention and, when necessary, for effective and timely intervention even at a great distance from the homeland.
In this context, the Air Force has the primary role of defending Italian airspace from any violation, preventing and neutralising any dangers from the sky. It must also have a diversified and balanced air instrument, with specific projection capabilities, which can be perfectly integrated in inter-force or multinational contexts, to conduct diverse and complex operations, on national territory and, above all, in foreign settings.
Lastly, the Air Force performs specific tasks in the service of the community, placing its dual capability assets at the disposal of citizens: in circumstances of public disaster and in frequent cases of extraordinary necessity and urgency such as, for example, medical transport and support to Civil Protection and the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs.
Main Celebrations in Italy
There will be many events celebrating the centenary; here are the most important ones:
– 28 March: Air Parade and Military Ceremony at the Pincio Terrace in Rome
– 12-14 May: Air Power Conference at Nuvola di Fuksas in Rome
– 17-18 June: Centennial Air Event at Pratica di Mare Airport in Rome
Curiosity: why the centenary logo
The centenary of the Air Force is represented and accompanied by a logo and a motto: from a graphic point of view, the logo is ‘neat’ thanks to the balanced and not excessive graphic elements. Its elements expressively encapsulate the concept of the centenary represented by the number ‘100’ and the reference to the two dates (1923-2023).
The two zeros also symbolize the shockwaves caused by an aircraft exceeding the speed of sound with a reference to the futurist style. To complete the symbolism, the semicircle on the bottom right depicts, ideally, the sense of continuity in the history of the Air Force. A graphic design feature that incorporates two aeroplanes, one dating back to the time when the Armed Forces was established (Ansaldo S.V.A., protagonist of Gabriele d’Annunzio’s famous flight over Vienna and Arturo Ferrarin’s Rome-Tokyo Raid) and the other contemporary (F35), to complete an ideal historical path that, as the direction of flight indicates, yesterday as today sees the Air Force always aiming for new and higher horizons for the good and exclusive service of Italy.
The Centenary logo is always accompanied by the following motto:
One hundred years of Aeronautica Militare – In flight towards the future