Andrea Spinelli/GENOA

The Italian air force is considering selling off some of its Alenia/Embraer AMX fighter aircraft as it struggles to rationalise the number of variants of the type in the fleet and to improve its poor availability.

The AMX disposal option has emerged from the highest echelons within the air force, and concerns almost all of the first batch of aircraft procured. A total of 21 aircraft were bought in the Ìrst batch, 59 in the second and 56 in the third.

The air force is looking to find a buyer for 18 AMX aircraft which it uses as a "logistics reserve", rather than to upgrade the aircraft to the full operational capability of the batch three standard.

The air force has a total of 49 batch three aircraft, which it views as the baseline full-operational capability. Another 29 from batch two, of the total of 136 AMX aircraft purchased, have been brought up to the same standard.

A further 15 batch two aircraft are also to be upgraded. The air force is also planning to cut its AMX squadrons from five to four.

The AMX aircraft have an availability of around only 50%, far short of the air force's desired minimum of 70%.

The 18 aircraft being considered for sale will need to be substantially refurbished if a customer is to be attracted. They are, however, relatively new, being only eight years old, with very few airframe hours.

Despite a vigorous export campaign by Alenia and Embraer no exports of the AMX were ever secured, although Thailand came close to acquiring the aircraft.


Source: Flight International