The first two advanced trainer M-346 produced for the Israeli Air Force (IAF) have been delivered today to the Hatzerim Israeli Air Force Base, which will gradually replace the TA-4s currently operated by the IAF.
In July 2012, Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, was awarded a contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defence (IMOD) to supply 30 M-346 advanced jet trainer aircraft and to include ground based training systems in collaboration with other Israeli and International companies.
“This is an important milestone for Alenia Aermacchi which, in less than two years, has signed the contract, performed the roll-out of the first aircraft last March and delivered the first two M-346s, on time with the programme. A result which marks the excellent team job achieved in strict collaboration with Alenia Aermacchi’s industrial counterparts, TOR and Honeywell”, the company declared.
Meanwhile Alenia Aermacchi’s site of Venegono (near Milan) continues the production activities: in addition to the two aircraft delivered, other 6 M-346s for the IAF are completing final assembly whereas 5 others are in the process of structural part assembly. All 30 aircraft are expected to be delivered by the end of 2016.
The M-346 is the most advanced/lead-in fighter trainer aircraft currently produced and the only new-generation trainer optimized for the role of training pilots who fly on latest-generation high-performance military planes. Thanks to its advanced technical design solutions and to the adoption of the latest “design-to-cost” and “design-to-maintain” concepts, the M-346 provides reduced acquisition and operational costs. Furthermore the reduced number of hours necessary for its maintenance make the aircraft excellent for cost-effectiveness.
Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 Integrated Training System (ITS) includes, together with the aircraft, an exhaustive Ground Based Training System (GBTS), enabling the student pilot to learn and rehearse the entire aircraft syllabus and all training objectives on the ground, before replicating them in flight.
The M-346 has won then the most important international bids, with a total of 56 aircraft ordered to date. The aircraft is already in service with the Italian and the Republic of Singapore Air Forces.