The last of a dozen Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) M-346 advanced trainer will be delivered in March 2014, the Italian aircraft manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi announced.
Currently 10 of the 12 aircraft ordered have been delivered along with the delivery of the relevant ground based training system.
In February 2013, the RSAF commenced the pilot training in its Advanced Training School at the Cazaux Air Base in France, while in March 2013 the first training flight for a pilot trainee in the M-346 was successfully conducted.
Singaporese ST Aerospace is the official prime contractor of the deal, and has also Boeing involved in the RSAF M-346s.
The project has not been without problems. On 11 May 2013 a M-346 crashed in Italy, after test pilot Matteo Maurizio suddenly lost all control of the jet causing him serious injuries after ejecting from the plane. In November 2011 another M-346 was lost directly after the Dubai Airshow when all electrical power failed.
The M-346 is gaining popularity in the world. Italy has plans to buy up to 15 of the type, Israel wants 30 and Poland is aiming at a minimum of 8. And then there is Singapore with its dozen M-346s.
Source: Alenia Aermacchi with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger