They were formed in 1961 as an Air Force team, replacing unofficial teams that had been sponsored by various commands by the end of the 1920s.
The team flies the Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN, a two-seat fighter-trainer craft capable of 898 km/h at sea level, with nine aircraft and a solo (the most aircraft of any aerobatic team in the world).
The team's official name is: 313. Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN) Frecce Tricolori.
In 2000 they reached 50,000 flying hours on the MB-339.
On 28 August 1988, in the Ramstein airshow disaster, 70 people lost their lives due to the mid-air collision of three Frecce Tricolori jets. The burning jets broke up and crashed; one hit a crowd of spectators.
The Frecce Tricolori were not the first AMI aerobatics team: military aerobatics as a group began in Campoformido, home of the 1st Wing, in the late 1920s under the supervision of Col. Rino Corso Fougier, a pioneer in aerobatic group flying. Subsequently, except in the Second World War period, many fighter wings had demonstration teams such as Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse), Getti Tonanti (Thundering Jets), Diavoli Rossi (Red Devils), Tigri Bianche (White Tigers) and Lanceri Neri (Black Lancers).
In 1961 the Air Force General Staff decided to form a single aerobatic team, the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (National Aerobatic Patrol).
In 2005 they won the award for best exhibition at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, England. They were the first non-Russian unit to receive the Russian Silver Medal for Aeronautical Merit. On 8 September 2007 the Frecce Tricolori took part at the funeral of Luciano Pavarotti in Modena and honoured him with a fly-past leaving green-white-red smoke trails.
The Aermacchi MB-339 is an Italian military trainer and light attack aircraft. It was developed as a replacement for the earlier MB-326.
Crew: two, student and instructor
Length: 10.97 m (36 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 10.86 m (35 ft 7½ in)
Height: 3.60 m (11 ft 9¾ in)
Wing area: 19.3 m² (208 ft²)
Empty weight: 3,075 kg (6,780 lb)
Loaded weight: 4,400 kg (9,700 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,897 kg (13,000 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Viper Mk. 632 turbojet, 4,000 lbf (17.8 kN)