Alenia Aermacchi M-346A reaches 100,000 flight hours at the end of 2022.
In December 2022, Leonardo Company celebrated the achievement of 100,000 flight hours of the M-346A, on the occasion of the “M-346 Joint User Group”, hosted this year by the Polish Air Force in Warsaw.
The M346A is an advanced transonic trainer aircraft born in the early 2000s and derived from a previous collaborative project between Alenia Aermacchi and the Yakovlev Design Bureau.
Alenia has considerably redesigned the aircraft reaching the model which made its maiden flight in July 2004, equipping it with systems and equipment exclusively of Western production.
The M-346 is an advanced transonic trainer conceived as a platform for flight training on new generation fighters. Fuselage and air intakes are in carbon fiber and Kevlar while the structural elements are in aluminum, titanium and steel alloys. The aircraft is powered by two Honeywell F124-GA-200 low bypass ratio turbofans.
Equipped with advanced controls and modular avionics developed from 4th generation fighter jets, it allows trainee pilots to reduce flight hours on board the target aircraft and facilitate the work of military flight schools.
M-346A, name of the original version of the advanced trainer, has been developed in other versions:
- T-346A: designation of the version adopted by the Italian Air Force.
- M-346FT: Fighter Trainer, multi-role version convertible from trainer to combat aircraft presented in 2016.
- M-346FA: Fighter Attack, version derived from the Fighter Trainer intended for close air support, ground attack, police and aerial surveillance missions, and reconnaissance.
A further version was the T-100 which was actually the designation adopted for the American T-X programm for the supply of a new advanced trainer to the United States Air Force. The T-X program is a United States Air Force development and acquisition program for a new two-seat jet trainer to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon. On 27 September 2018, the US Air Force selected the Boeing/Saab T-X entry to become its trainer aircraft.
Taking advantage of the delivery ceremony of the last 4 of the 16 aircraft acquired by the Polish Air Force, Leonardo therefore wanted to celebrate the milestone of 100,000 flight hours of the M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT).
Siły Powietrzne (Polish Air Force-PolAF) renamed its new trainer “Bielik” (Sea Eagle), replacing the old PZL TS-11-bis DS “Iskra”, and assigned them to 41st Training Aviation Base part of the 4th Training Aviation Wing in Dęblin.
A cutting-edge aircraft, with excellent performance which, in addition to Poland, is found with over 100 aircraft from the major international military air forces, such as Italy, Israel, Singapore, Qatar and Greece. The aircraft is also the fulcrum of the training system of the International Flight Training School (IFTS), born from the collaboration between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo and already chosen by Japan, Germany, Qatar and Singapore to train their pilots.
From Warsaw (Poland) and Galatina (Italy): Romano Riccardo & Rastello Stefano
PolAF 41 Baza Lotnictwa Szkolnego/41st Training Aviation Base