The certification authority of the Italian Ministry of Defence, Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA), has issued the Initial Certification for Leonardo’s new M-345 trainer.

The new jet is set to enter service with the Italian Air Force (IAF) and future aircraft of the airforce’s acrobatic team Frecce Tricolori and is capable of providing jet trainer aircraft-like performance.

DAAA issued the certification to the aircraft following intense in-flight and on-ground test activities that total approximately 200 test flights conducted with the support of IAF’s Flight Test Centre, 61st Wing and 10th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

The tests were conducted to assess the aircraft and its equipment compliance with safety standards.

Leonardo Aircraft Division managing director Lucio Valerio Cioffi said: “The achievement of the Initial Certification for the M-345, unique in its segment for acquisition and operational costs, confirms the aircraft features excellent characteristics and capabilities and makes it available for the international market.

“This result stems from a consolidated collaboration between the industry, the Certification Authority and the IAF under a full national effort and embodies the heritage in training excellence, which is widely acknowledged to the Italian Armed Forces.”

Initial certification of the jet marks the first case of enforcement of the new AER (EP) P-21 rule for a fixed-wing aircraft.

The European Military Airworthiness Requirements-21 (EMAR) is an international certification requirement that will aid to the aircraft’s export.

The M-345 jet with its advanced integrated training system will offer the IAF an improvement in training effectiveness and a reduction in operating cost.

Designed to meet basic and advanced training needs, it will complement the M-346s used for the advanced phase of pilot training.

The jet will support the reinforcement and internationalisation of the training offer launched by the company in partnership with the IAF.