Air Force (Aeronautica Militare)

Plates of Aeronautica Militare, known as Regia Aeronautica (Royal Air Force) before the Second World War, issued before 1997 had the letters AM (or RA before the war) in red and then a number up to 5 digits. Plate numbers were distributed in groups to the different kinds of vehicles, as you can see in the table below. Anyway it was quite common to give the same plate number or even the same plate to another vehicle when the first one was eliminated. In 1982 the look of plates changed, as you can see in the picture below, but not its numbering system: a little green star was introduced and digits were arranged on a single line. The numbering system changed in 1997, as you can see in the third picture, starting from AH 500 for motor vehicles and from A 6000 for motorbikes.

AM plate
Picture 1: 1946 - 1982
AM plate
Picture 2: 1982 - 1997
Targa AM
Picture 3: 1997 - Today (front)
Targa AM
Picture 4: 1997 - Today (rear)

1 - 99
Special vehicles (1)
100 - 2.999
Motor vehicles
3.001 - 4.999
Reconnaissance vehicles (2)
5.001 - 6.999
7.001 - 8.499
8.501 - 9.999
Tricars and little mobile howitzers
10.001 - 13.999
Light and medium tricars
14.001 - 16.999
Heavy tricars
17.001 - 19.999
Vans and little buses
20.001 - 29.999
Work vehicles and ambulances
30.001R - 32.999R
Trailers (3)
33.001R - 35.999R
Special trailers (3)
36.001T - 36.999T
Caterpillar tractors to pull aeroplanes (4)
37.001T - 37.999T
Tractors to pull aeroplanes (4)

(1) Some of these plates had some red letters after the number, sometimes in upper case, some other times in lower case: "L" was for locomotives of Air Force, as they were registered like any other vehicle (picture number 6), "Em" was for hoists (it stands for "elevatore a motore", see picture numer 5) and "Ee" was or electric hoists (it stands for "elevatore elettrico"). Moreover in this group, before the war, there were also some important vehicles.

(2) Actually the group from 100 to 4.999 is just one, but in practice they were always split as you can see in the table.

(3) These two groups were introduced after the Second World War (picture number 8). Previously plates were registered in the third group, from 3.001 to 4.999, adding a red R after the numbers.

(4) These two groups are not strictly separated: for instance the plate shown below (picture number 7) was mounted to a tractor, vene if it belongs to the group of caterpillar tractors.

AM plate
Picture 5: Hoist
AM plate
Picture 6: Locomotive
AM plate
Picture 7: Tractor
AM plate
Picture 8: Trailer

When the new format was introduced in 1997, also the plates for the "special" vehicles changed. The picture number 9, even if its quality is very poor, shows the plate of a work vehicle of the Italian Air Force: the numbering format is the same used for normal plates, but it has got the yellow beckground and the print "MACC. OP." (it stands for work vehicle) in red on the top.

Targa AM
Picture 9: Work vehicle

Many thanks to Marcello Taverna for the first two pictures, to Adolfo Arena for the pictures number 3 and 4, to Roberto Pola for the fifth and to Giancarlo Raposo for the picture number 6, taken from the magazine "I treni" of November 2002. The pictures number 7 and 8 are taken from the book "A century of plates".

Plates in Rome by Michele Berionne