RAF Jaguar confiscated by the Italian Customs in Ancona

Three British Royal Air Force (RAF) GR-1A Jaguar fighter reconnaissance aircraft fly a sortie in support of Operation NORTHERN WATCH. (Image credit: USAF)

On Feb 6, a RAF Jaguar, was found by the Italian Guardia di Finanza in the Ancona harbour and blocked before being embarked on board a cargo ship with destination Patras, in Greece.

The aircraft was not concealed, it was simply covered with cloth and divided into two parts: fuselage and wings.

Although the aircraft should be destinated to a Museum or a private collection, it was blocked pending further investigation on the accompanying documentation by the Ministry of Defense. In fact, it is not the first time that Ancona is used as a port of call for a variety of weapons trafficking and the Italian authorities will have to shed light on the “mysterious” Jaguar.

Since the aircraft seems to be perfectly airworthy the investigators will have to verify the actual purpose of the shipment and the authorizations provided by the Greek carrier.

Wearing the markings of the 41 Sqn (as you can see from the picture published on the website of the Resto del Carlino newspaper: http://ilrestodelcarlino.ilsole24ore.com/ancona/2009/02/06/149691-caccia_bombardiere.shtml), according to some sources, the aircraft should be the XZ355/FJ stored after retirement at RAF Coltishall.

The 16(R) and 54 Squadrons disbanded in 2005, the 41(F) Squadron in 2006, 6 Squadron was expected to operate the Jaguar until Oct 31 2007 but the last operative sorties of the RAF Jaguars took place at Coningsby on Apr 30, 2007.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.