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.
Although an RFP has yet to be issued, Alenia says it is delighted by the announcement of Malaysian defense minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at LIMA 2013 that a Maritime Patrol System (MPS) is now the main acquisition priority for that country’s armed forces. The Italians believe the ATR 72MP would be a “natural choice.” The Malaysian requirement is estimated at between six and 12 aircraft.
The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) announced this week that it has awarded a contract to the trinational Panavia consortium to further upgrade the Tornado for the Italian air force. The latest in a series of upgrades will allow Italian Tornados to carry the small-diameter bomb (SDB) and the advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM).
Alenia Aermacchi made the first flight of an SF-260TP primary and basic trainer with a glass cockpit from its factory at Venegono, Italy. The aircraft also carried an upgraded air conditioning system and an infrared TV camera on the wing leading edge that provides the pilots with an enhanced vision system at night or in poor weather.
AgustaWestland is making a new push into South America. The Italian helicopter maker, part of the defense and industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica, signed a memorandum of understanding on January 21 to establish a joint venture with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer to build AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
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).
Europe’s first unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) has flown. The Neuron technology demonstrator took off from the Dassault test base at Istres, France, at dawn on December 1. Dassault is the prime contractor, teamed with Alenia Aermacchi (Italy); EADS-CASA (Spain); Hellenic Aerospace Industries (Greece); Ruag (Switzerland); Saab (Sweden) and Thales (France).
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.
Residual value guarantees, superior hot-and-high capabilities and “outstanding” launch customer incentives all contributed to a decision by Mexico’s second-largest airline to take a “calculated risk” on the Sukhoi Superjet 100, Interjet CEO Jose Luis Garza told AIN during a visit to New York last week.
European governments have reached a crossroad in the potential development of next-generation unmanned aerial systems that could challenge current Israeli and U.S. leadership in this field. The British and French defense ministers will meet in London on Tuesday, July 24, to assess the Anglo-French Defence Agreement.