The sun is rising for Alenia Aermacchi and its M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

Poland buys M-346 trainers, tests in February

The sun is rising for Alenia Aermacchi and its M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)
The sun is rising for Alenia Aermacchi and its M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

UPDATE 5 JANUARY 2013 Poland has invited Alenia Aermacchi to send a test aircraft to Poland for verification tests in February. Those test are to be held on 21 February, according to a tweet by the Italian aircraft builder. The final contract should be signed sometime in 2014.

Poland is set to buy eight M-346 trainers as lead-in fighter trainers for future fast jet pilots, Alenia Aermacchi parent company Finmeccanica said on Monday. The contract is worth 383 million USD and also includes an option for a further four aircraft.

In Poland, the M-346 replaces the trusty old PZL TS-11 Iskras, a type that first flew as early as 1960. Poland has been looking for a replacement aircraft for the last five years or so, another contender being the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle. The new trainers will mainly be used for training future F-16 pilots. Poland operates 48 state-of-the-art Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52 fighters.

According to Alenia Aermacchi, the twin-engined M-346 is the most advanced lead-in fighter trainer flying today. With its fully digital flight controls and avionics, together with carefree handling and high AOA maneuvering, the M-346 is fully representative of new generation fighters. The trainer has already been ordered by Italy, Singapore and Israel.

The M-346 is capable of using a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) that is fully integrated into the M-346 aircraft avionics systems. HMD provides student pilots with a new generation personal avionics system that enables them to develop competency in the use of advanced weapons systems management in operations fully representative of modern combat aircraft.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

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