Almost three months on from the crash of a pre-series aircraft in Italy on May 11, Alenia Aermacchi’s M346 jet remains grounded as investigations into the causes of the accident continue. The Italian manufacturer has insisted there are no similarities between this incident and the November 2011 accident in which a prototype M346 crashed off the coast of Dubai after appearing in the airshow there.
Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master
Alenia Aermacchi and Italy’s Ministry of Defense signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show to jointly define specifications and collaborate on a new “basic-advanced” jet trainer, the M-345 HET (high-efficiency trainer). The new trainer would be a further development of the company’s M-311 design, with entry into service between 2017 and 2020.
Alenia Aermacchi and Italy’s Ministry of Defense signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show to jointly define specifications and collaborate on the development of a new “basic-advanced” jet trainer, the M-345 HET (high efficiency trainer). The new trainer would be a further development of the company’s M-311 design, aimed at entering service between 2017 and 2020.
Since the first quarter of 2012 two Aermacchi M346s have been flying under Italian air force colors, carrying out the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) campaign. From March 5 to Sept. 5, 2012 the two Masters logged some 130 flight hours in the hands of the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (test flight wing) of Pratica di Mare.
Alenia Aermacchi said operational M-346 advanced jet trainers were grounded as a precaution following the May 11 crash of a company-owned prototype in northern Italy. It was the second crash of an M-346 pre-production aircraft; the first jet crashed off the coast of Dubai in November 2011 after appearing at the Dubai Air Show.
General Dynamics and Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi signed a letter of intent to jointly offer a pilot training system built around Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 advanced jet trainer for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X jet trainer replacement program. The partnership is the second industrial team to announce its pursuit of the T-X program after the team of BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, which is offering the Hawk AJT (advanced jet trainer).
Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi rolled out the first of 12 M-346 advanced jet trainers destined for Singapore, the aircraft’s first export customer, on August 9, weeks after announcing a 30-jet contract with Israel. The Finmeccanica company has also sold 15 trainers designated T-346As to the Italian Air Force.
Alenia Aermacchi rolled out the first twinjet for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) in a ceremony held at its manufacturing plant in Venegono, Italy. The first M-346 delivery to Singapore is scheduled for the end of this year.