Last Four Italian AMX Jets, Set To Join Future ‘Flying Museum’, Reach Final Retirement Destination

AMX retirement
The AMXs taxiing at Istrana before their last departure from the base. (Image credit: Author)

The recent retirement of the final four operational AMX aircraft from Istrana marks the conclusion of their 35-year service with the Italian Air Force. These aircraft join the historic flying collection at Piacenza airport.

On Apr. 11, 2024, the last four operational AMX ACOL aircraft, including the single seater sporting a special livery to celebrate the Phase Out of the type, piloted by Col. Emanuele Chiadroni, commander of the 51° Stormo (Wing) left Istrana AB for Piacenza Air Base, where they were officially retired and taken on charge by the local airport detachment.

The landing at Piacenza, marked the end of the operational service of the AMX Ghibli (unofficially nicknamed “Topone” – Italian for “Big Mouse”) after 35 years of service.

The flight line at Istrana AB on Apr. 11, 2024. (Image credit: Author)
The four pilots of the last four AMXs. (Image credit: Author)
Col. Chiadroni in front of the special color. (Image credit: Author)

A single trainer remains in service with the Italian Air Force’s RSV (Reparto Sperimentale Volo – Italian Air Force Test Wing), at Pratica di Mare Air Base: it will fly at least until next fall; then, it should be withdrawn from use and transformed into a gate guardian (or be assigned to the ItAF Museum).

The four aircraft took off in this order: MM7162/51-34, MM7197/51-46, MM55044/51-82, MM55043/51-81.

After the departure, the quartet carried out a final pass over the base before heading west towards Piacenza, chased by a Eurofighter.


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On their way to Piacenza, the “Grappa formation” rejoined with the Frecce Tricolori and a C-130J (with the open ramp to take some photographs before the historic last landing).

The four AMXs in formation with the Frecce Tricolori trailing the C-130J photoship. (Image credit: Mirco Adami)


After welcoming the HH-212 helicopters from Grazzanise recently retired after over 40 years of service, Piacenza will store the four retired AMXs.

Addressing local institutions, businesses, professionals, and media representatives during the welcoming ceremony, the base commander, T. Col. Salvatore Occini, presented the current and future plans of the airfield.

MM7197 final landing at Piacenza (Image credit: Mirco Adami)
MM550044 final landing at Piacenza (Image credit: Mirco Adami)
MM55043 final landing at Piacenza AB (Image credit: Mirco Adami)

Occini highlighted the base’s transition from solely operational duties to also include the restoration and preservation of historical aircraft. Notably, a Fiat G-91, restored with a special Frecce livery, was successfully returned to flight for the Air Force’s Centenary Air Show in June 2023, thanks to the expertise of the base’s staff and collaboration with specialized civilian technicians.

Commander of the 1st Air Region General Vestito emphasized the significance of the Piacenza base within the Air Force, highlighting its operational readiness demonstrated by the arrival of the AMXs. He underscored the base’s strategic importance for various activities, including operational deployments, training, exercises, and research in the aeronautical and automotive sectors, leveraging existing synergies with institutional, university, and industrial partners.

The Flying Museum

Looking ahead, the Armed Forces are exploring projects to transition Piacenza military airport into a Flying Museum, allowing aviation enthusiasts and historians to appreciate these assets, including witnessing them in flight, which have played a pivotal role in the centenary history of the Armed Forces.

How these aircraft will be maintained and by whom, which pilots will have the qualifications to fly them and at what cost, are just some of the questions that will need to be answered before such an ambitious project can be realized.

The special color about to land in Piacenza. (Image credit: Mirco Adami)
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.