Here Are The Forces Deployed To Protect President Zelensky During His Visit To Rome

Here Are The Forces Deployed To Protect President Zelensky During His Visit To Rome

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Zelensky Rome
he Italian VC-319 arriving at Rome-Ciampino airport. (Photo: ANSA) In the box: one of the Eurofighters escorting the Airbus as it arrived in Italy, (Screenshot from Twitter), a P-72A (ITAF) and some of the tracks from the flight tracking websites

Military and law enforcement were mobilized to create a safety net during the visit, with a no fly zone around the city, fighters, helicopter, ISR and cUAS assets.

On May 13, 2023, Ukrainian President Zelensky arrived in Italy to meet Italian President Mattarella, the Prime Minister Meloni and the Pope Francis. His arrival set in motion a large security plan which saw more than one thousand military and law enforcement personnel working to allow Zelensky’s visit to go smoothly and safely.

Zelensky arrived from Rzeswov, Poland, aboard an Italian Air Force Airbus A-319CJ (VC-319A in the Italian MoD designation) escorted by two Eurofighter F-2000As of the 4° Stormo (Wing). The aircraft landed at a sealed-off Ciampino airport, just outside Rome, with the two fighters circling overhead.

For the entire duration of the visit, a no fly zone has been established, with a NOTice to AirMen introducing a temporary area for military aircraft activity from 5,000 ft to FL250, as well as a corridor for unmanned aircraft which originated near Amendola Air Base, possibly related to the participation of MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft to the security operations.

Even before Zelensky arrived, the ItAF’s Beech 350 SPYDR was orbiting Rome, first in a standard “racetrack” pattern, possibly performing SIGINT (SIGnal INTelligence) ahead of the arrival, and later in a circle orbit around the city, performing ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance). A P-72A aircraft later replaced the B.350 to continue ISR duties for the rest of the day.

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The areas activated by NOTAM W1222/23 for the visit of the Ukrainian President. (Image: Desk Aeronautico)

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The areas activated by NOTAM W1222/23 for the visit of the Ukrainian President. (Image: Desk Aeronautico)

Contrary to other similar occasions, the G-550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) was not tasked with any flight. Eurofighters were on QRA alert ready to scramble and intercept any threat, with others possibly on CAP near Rome. Police helicopters were also in flight to have eyes from the sky for improved surveillance and enforce the no fly zone at lower altitudes.

An unspecified cUAS (counter Unmanned Aerial Systems) capability was deployed, either by the Air Force or the Army, to enforce also the no fly zone established for drones. Snipers, EOD personnel and counter-terrorism teams on the ground completed the security cordon, adding to the military, Police and Carabinieri on patrol in the streets of Rome.

Zelensky took off again from Rome in the late evening, this time on a German Air Force A-319 headed to Germany for the next stop of the Ukrainian President’s visits in Europe. At the time the aircraft flew northbound through the Italian airspace, it was escorted/closely followed again by the Italian F-2000s.

About Stefano D’Urso
Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.

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