After Italy (15), Singapore (12) and Israel (30), Poland recently became the fourth customer to order the M-346. The Polish contract of 8 raised the number of M-346 aircraft ordered to date to 56. The aircraft is already in service with the Italian and the Republic of Singapore Air Forces.
The Ministry of Defence of Poland signed the contract for the delivery of eight Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master advanced training jets on 27 February 2014. The deal is worth EUR 280 million, as announced earlier.
In addition to the eight aircraft, the provision also included logistic support, a training program for pilots and engineers and ground-based training system with dedicated classroom and educational materials.
After Italy (15), Singapore (12) and Israel (30), Poland is the fourth customer to order the M-346. The Polish contract raises the number of M-346 aircraft ordered to date to 56.
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. 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, as well as legendary MiG-29 Fulcrums.
Source: Alenia Aermacchi with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest
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.
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.
Alenia Aermacchi’s plant in Venegono has begun assembling Israel’s first M-346 advanced jet trainer.
The three major components of the first aircraft are currently being joined to form the aircraft’s structure. Then the M-346 Lavi, as the type will be called in Israeli Air & Space Force service, will make its way down the assembly line and roll out of the factory for final checks and delivery to the IASF in the mid of 2014.
Israel ordered a total of 30 M-346 as advanced trainers to replace the TA-4 Skyhawks currently in service. The M-346 is primary an advanced trainer, but can be configured for light combat operations. The avionics suite can be modeled in F-16, F-18, Eurofighter, Gripen, Rafale, F-22 and JSF kind of environments, according to the company.