Elbit Systems, the Israeli defence electronics company, celebrated a milestone by landing the first two M-346 training aircraft at the Hellenic International Flight Training Center in Kalamata, Greece.
The M-346 aircraft are equipped with Elbit Systems’ integrated virtual avionics, which simulates combat and flight scenarios to bring the training experience of pilots to the highest level.
Manufactured by Leonardo, the M-346 is a twin-engine, tandem-seat aircraft with fully digital flight controls and avionics. It has a fly-by-wire control system and an interface with heads-up displays . The handling of the M-346 is similar to that of next-generation combat aircraft, which maximises the flight training of pilots.
Since the launch of the International Flight Training Center in 2021, the project has been ahead of schedule, with the progress praised by both the Defense Ministries of Greece and Israel.
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The fleet of T-6 aircraft now benefits from 100% logistic availability supported by the Logistics Center established at the airbase to provide ongoing technical support.
Greece’s military grows as its relationship with Israel develops
Israel and Greece’s military ties are growing stronger, as Greece’s naval defence industry was recently strengthened. Israel Aerospace Industries recently acquired the Greek defence company Intracom Defense, specialising in missile launchers, missile subsystems, land and sea tactical communications, and hybrid generation.
As of early 2023, Greece and Israel are preparing to sign a new MoU designed to encourage private-sector collaboration in the scientific and business sector.
During a recent visit to Greece, Israel’s minister of defence Yoav Gallant praised the project, saying, “The International Education Center at the Kalamata airbase is an excellent example” of the growing defence ties between the two countries.
In 2023 the two countries signed a defence cooperation program, which included several joint exercises and joint training and signed a deal for procuring Spike missiles by Greece, according to GlobalData’s “Greece Defense Market 2023-2028” report.
The recent work has been based on the experience that Elbit Systems has gathered from various programs worldwide.
The Israeli Ministry Of Defense has contracted the company to handle several training fleets for the IAF, including the Grob G120, the Bell 206, AW119 helicopters, the Texan T-6A basic trainer fleet, and the M-346 advanced jet trainer fleet.
The Israeli Ministry of Public Security has also contracted the company to deliver, operate, and maintain Israel’s air tractor aerial firefighting fleet.
In 2016, Affinity, an Elbit Systems JV, was contracted to procure, operate, and maintain the Phenom 100, Beechcraft T-6, and GROB G-120TP fleets of the UK MFTS for the Royal Air Force. These bring the total number of aircraft operated by Elbit Systems to over 170.
The Hellenic International Flight Training Center at Kalamata ensures that the Hellenic Air Force can access pilot training facilities. With Elbit Systems’ experience and technology, this project is set to provide a new generation of Icari with the skills required to operate modern fighter jets.
Yoram Shmuely, General Manager of Elbit Systems Aerospace: “We are proud to provide the Hellenic Airforce with leading training centres and capabilities.
The landing of the first two planes at the International Training Center in Kalamata is a significant milestone for Elbit Systems and the growing strategic relationship between Israel and Greece.”
Elbit Systems recorded revenues of $5.511bn for FY22. The company’s Airborne and C4ISR systems segment recorded the most gains in FY22.