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 M-311
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.
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.
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.
Northrop’s venerable T-38 Talon supersonic trainer entered service with the U.S. Air Force in March 1961 and has provided the advanced portion of the service’s training syllabus ever since. Over 1,100 were delivered and more than 450 remain in service.
The United Arab Emirates has selected the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master to fulfill its advanced trainer and combat support requirement. The UAE Air Force and Air Defense (AFAD) plans to acquire 48 Masters for lead-in fighter training and light attack duties.
Alenia Aermacchi’s first pre-production M-346 lead-in fighter trainer made its official maiden flight on July 7 with Aermacchi chief test pilot Olinto Cecconello at the controls. The jet, painted in “Finmeccanica red” in a nod to Alenia Aermacchi’s parent company, had made three previous flights, all occurring the week before the first official public flight pictured here.
At the Finmeccanica exhibit here at Farnborough (Outside OE2) visitors once again can find Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. At a first glance the aircraft looks the same as that exhibited at previous airshows, but close up it is possible to note some of the differences featured in this first preproduction aircraft, which was rolled out from the Italian group’s assembly line in April.
Visitors to Alenia Aermacchi, part of the Finmeccanica stand here at Le Bourget, will find the same M-311 lightweight jet basic/advanced trainer avionics demonstrator the company showed two years ago. However, the program has moved forward since then, with advancements in both the commercial and technical fields.
Much in evidence here at the Asian Aerospace show this week are the four competitors for the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s basic/primary trainer competition: the Aermacchi M-311, Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, Pilatus PC-21 and the Raytheon T-6B. The presence of these aircraft in Singapore coincides with the latest evaluation by the RSAF following earlier flights at the manufacturers’ test sites.