The aircraft we present for today is the ground attack fighter named AMX International AMX which was developed as a joint project of Italy and Brazil. The AMX International AMX got designated as the A-11 Ghibli from the Italian Air Force while the Brazilian Air Force simply designated it as A-1. The word Ghibli in Italian translates for Hot Dry Wind that arises from Libyan Desert.
Today we present a few interesting facts about the AMX International AMX; the ground attack jet fighter.
The design study for the AMX International AMX was started back in the 1970s by an Italian aircraft manufacturer named Aermacchi. The design was based on the light ground attack jet fighter which was at the time given the designation MB-340. Then in 1977, the Italian Air Force issued a project for the delivery of the 187 new aircraft for the strike fighter roles. These new aircraft were to replace the aging fleet of Aeritalia G.91.
Then in 1980, the Brazilian government also proposed the plans to interact in this project as a replacement for their own aging fleet of Aermacchi MB-326. This led to a memorandum being formed between the two nations and the development of AMX International AMX started back in 1981. The aircraft was prepared by the time in 1984 and as delivered for mass production to both these nations.
The very first flight of the first prototype of the AMX International AMX took it to the skies back on 15th May 1984. This prototype was designed to be for the Italian Air Force. They got the precedent in getting the first prototype because of the program initiated by them. A year later the second prototype for the Brazilian Air Force was delivered.
Difference between Italian & Brazilian AMX International AMX:-
The key difference between these two AMX International AMX designs was the inlay of their avionics in accordance with the aircraft’s airframe.
The initial delivery was for 272 of these AMX International AMX aircraft but both nations suffered from budget problems that led to the project being reduced to mere 136 aircraft. The development suffered little technical problems but it still continued.
The official AMX International AMX entered for the service of both these nations back in 1989 with combat-ready condition achieved in 1990.
Orders and Manufacturers:-
The production for the AMX International AMX was divided into 3 major aircraft manufacturing companies as follows.
- 7 percent of it was handled by Alenia, previously known as Aeritalia.
- 7 percent was taken over by Embraer
- As for the remaining 23.6 percent, Aermacchi took over the production quota.
As for the final assembly of these AMX International AMX series aircraft, it was conducted locally in their respective countries.
The external design of the AMX International AMX was composed of monoplane wings which were high mounted. Other features included 2 air intakes and engine installation for a single-engine. As for the crew accommodation, it varied upon the model in production, which made it either a two-seater or single-seater one. The two-seater aircraft would allow for another pilot to operate the systems of the aircraft in tandem with the first pilot.
The standard armament configuration of the AMX International AMX also varied for both the Brazilian and Italian versions. The aircraft for Italian Air Force had 1 General Electric 20 mm Gatling styled cannon fitted internally. As for the Brazilin model, it had 2 DEFA 30 mm cannons.
The aircraft had the following hardpoints for attachment of various mission necessary munitions.
- 4 underwing hardpoints
- 1 centerline hardpoint
- Wingtip hardpoint
The wingtip hardpoints were used to equip aircraft with air-to-air short-range missiles. The other hardpoints had been designed for carrying following ordnance payloads.
- Guided missiles
- Rocket pods
- Fuel tanks to improve the overall range of the fighter
- Target laser designators or the reconnaissance pods
Considerable service With Italian Air Force:-
The AMX International AMX in service of Italian Air Force saw considerable combat action after its introduction as it became the part of the UN-led air campaign named “Allied Force” started against Serbia. During this campaign, the aircraft took part in a total of 250 sorties. The aircraft was equipped during this operation with the Israeli Elbit Opher Imaging Infrared guided drop bombs which were able to hit the target with accuracy and precision.
As for other ordnance dropped by the Italian made AMX International AMX were the conventional drop bombs of Mk 82, Mk83 and Mk84 along with the LGBs (Laser-guided Bombs) of the Paveway II series.
Modernized Form with Powerplant upgrades:-
After 1999, modernization was initiated on the AMX International AMX of both Brazilian and Italian made aircraft was started after 1999. This majorly led to the aircraft being powered by 1 Rolls Royce 807 series turbofan engine which generated a thrust of 11030 lbs/ft. this allowed the aircraft to fly at a top speed of 570 mph for a combat range of nearly 555 miles while the ferry range was about 2075 miles. The aircraft had a service ceiling height of 42650 feet with the rate of climbing being 10250 ft/min.
Total number of AMX International AMX produced so far:-
The final airframe of the AMX International AMX arrived in-service back in 2002 and with that, a total of 205 AMX International AMX aircraft had been created. There are several AMX International AMX aircraft still in the production phases.
One of the popular variants for the AMX International AMX is the AMX-T which is the two-seat trainer while the other one is the AMT-ATA, which is a two-seat aircraft used for Advanced Trainer Attack purposes.
The reconnaissance variant of the AMX International AMX is designated as AMX-R.
Brazilian Air Force also ordered upgraded AMX International AMX aircraft which were designated as A-1M. These aircraft were fitted with the following features.
- Mectron SCP-01 series radar
- BR2 Data Links
- Elbit Navigation
- All-glass digital cockpit
Due for Retirement:-
The earliest model of the AMX International AMX serving for the Italian Air Force designated A-1 is due for retirement along with the IAF’s fleets of AV-8 Harriers and PANAVIA Tornados. The aircraft to replace all of these will be the Lockheed F-035 Lightning II which will be delivered in large quantity compared to the fleet of all three of these strike fighters.