28 March 1923
Italian Armed Forces
Latin: Virtute Siderum Tenus
"With Valour to the Stars"
Lieutenant General Daniele
The Aeronautica Militare is the air force of
the Republic of Italy (Repubblica Italiana). It
has held a prominent role in modern Italian
military history and its Aerobatic display
team is the Frecce Tricolori.
Italy is one of the nations that can boast
some of the oldest traditions in the field of
aviation. As far back as 1884, in fact, the
Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) was au-
thorised to equip itself with its own air
component, the Air Force Service (Servizio
Aeronautico), based in Rome.
In 1911, during the Italo-Turkish War,
Italy employed aircraft for the first time ever
in the world for reconnaissance and bombing
On 28 March 1923, the Italian air force
was founded as an independent service arm
by King Vittorio Emanuele III of the Kingdom
of Italy (Regno d’Italia). This air force was
known as the Regia Aeronautica which
equates to "Royal Air Force."
During the 1930s, the Royal Air Force was
involved in its first military operations, ini-
tially in Ethiopia in 1935, and later in the
Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939.
After a period of neutrality, Italy entered
World War II on 10 June 1940 alongside Ger-
many, in which the Royal Air Force could de-
ploy more than 3,000 aircrafts, even if less
than 60% were serviceable. The Royal Air
Force fought from the icy steppes of Russia
to the sand of the North African desert losing
men and machines. After the armistice of 8
September 1943, Italy was divided into two
sides, and the same fate befell the Royal Air
Force. The end of the hostilities, on 8 May
1945, opened the gates to the rebirth of milit-
ary aviation in Italy.
A referendum resulted in the proclamation
of Italy as a Republic on 18 June 1946, and in
parallel the Royal Air Force was transform