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AMX International A-11 Ghibli & A-1

The AMX International AMX is a ground-attack aircraft jointly developed by Brazil and Italy.

The AMX is designated A-11 Ghibli by the Italian Air Force and A-1 by the Brazilian Air Force.

The AMX is a conventional shoulder-winged monoplane.

It is composed primarily of aluminium and manufactured using traditional construction methods, however elements such as the tail fin and elevators use carbon fibre composite materials.

For its size, a large proportion of the AMX’s internal space is allocated to avionics and onboard computer systems, both the navigation and attack systems are computerized.

For accessibly and ease of maintenance, all avionics are installed directly in bays beneath the cockpit in a manner in which they can be worked upon at ground level without the use of support platforms.

Drawing on experience from the Panavia Tornado, the AMX is equipped with a hybrid flight control system; a fly-by-wire control system is employed to operate flight control surfaces such as the spoilers, rudder and variable incidence tail plane, while the ailerons and elevators are actuated via a dual-redundant hydraulic system.

Manual reversion is provided for the ailerons, elevator and rudder to allow the aircraft to be flown even in the event of complete hydraulic failure; either control system can act independent of one another.

The wing is fitted with both leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps and over wing spoilers ahead of the flaps.

The spoilers can function as airbrakes and to negate lift; improving take-off and landing performance as well as manoeuvrability during flight.

A single Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engine serves as the AMX’s power plant.

During the aircraft’s development, the Spey was heavier and less modern than some of the available alternatives, but it was considered to be reliable, relatively cheap and was free of export restrictions that would be imposed by using American engines.

The Spey engine also enabled for the use of a simplified round-lipped inlet design.

The rear fuselage is detachable in order to gain access to the engine.

Separate consortia in both Brazil and Italy manufactured the Spey for the AMX.

Unusual for a strike aircraft of the era, no attempt was made to develop the aircraft to fly at supersonic speeds.

Brazilian and Italian aircraft differ considerably in their avionics, Italian aircraft being equipped with various NATO systems which were considered redundant in the South American theatre.

AMXs in Brazilian service are often fitted with one of three pallet-mounted sensor packages, which contain various vertical, oblique, and forward-facing cameras, for performing the aircraft’s secondary aerial reconnaissance role.

A simple ranging radar is equipped for targeting purposes, however the specific radar also differs between both operators.

The flight system employs a GE Avionics flight control computer.

Extensive electronic countermeasure (ECM) are fitted to protect the aircraft, include passive receiver antenna on the tailfin and an active jammer pod that is typically mounted on one of the aircraft’s hard points.

Various munitions could be mounted on the one centre line and four under-wing hard points, including bombs, missiles and rockets, payloads of up to 2,000 lb may be carried upon the centre line and the two innermost under-wing pylons, while the outer pylons can carry up to 1,000 lb.

All four of the under-wing hard points are plumbed for drop tanks to extend the aircraft’s range, Italian aircraft are also fitted with a fixed aerial refuelling probe.

Optical reconnaissance pods can be carried externally on the centre line hard point.

Wingtip rails are provided for infrared guided air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder and MAA-1 Piranha.

Italian aircraft are fitted with a M61 Vulcan 20 mm rotary cannon on the port side of the lower fuselage.

The United States denied the sale of the M61 to Brazil, thus its AMXs are instead fitted with two 30 mm DEFA 554 revolver cannons.





13.23 m (43 ft 5 in)


8.87 m (29 ft 1 in)


4.55 m (14 ft 11 in)

Wing area

21 m2 (230 sq ft)

Empty weight

6,700 kg (14,771 lb)

Gross weight

10,750 kg (23,700 lb)

Max take-off weight

13,000 kg (28,660 lb)

Fuel capacity

3,555 l (939 US gal; 782 imp gal) / 2,700 kg (5,952 lb) internal

2x 1,000 l (260 US gal; 220 imp gal) drop tanks inboard and 2x 500 l (130 US gal; 110 imp gal) drop tanks outboard


1 × Rolls-Royce Spey 807 turbofan engine, 49.1 kN (11,000 lbf) thrust


Maximum speed

1,053 km/h (654 mph, 569 kn) at 10,975 m (36,007 ft)

Combat range

889 km (552 mi, 480 nmi) hi-lo-hi profile, with 900 kg (1,984 lb) of external stores

Ferry range

3,336 km (2,073 mi, 1,801 nmi)


4 hours 15 minutes

Service ceiling

13,000 m (43,000 ft)

Rate of climb

52.1 m/s (10,260 ft/min)

Wing loading

512 kg/m2 (105 lb/sq ft)


0.47 propulsive efficiency



1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon (Italian aircraft)

2× 30 mm (1.181 in) Bernardini Mk-164 cannon (Brazilian aircraft)


Rocket pods


2× AIM-9 Sidewinders or MAA-1 Piranha or A-Darter, carried on wingtip rails

Air to ground missiles


3,800 kg (8,378 lb) on 5 external hard points, including MAR-1 missiles, general-purpose and laser-guided bombs.


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