The Italian Air Force is set to accept delivery of its 18th Aermacchi M-346 military training aircraft from Leonardo.
Designated T-346A by the Italian Air Force, the trainer aircraft was manufactured at the company’s Aircraft Division site at Venegono Superiore in Varese, Italy.
The trainer will be stationed at Galatina’s 61st Air Wing (Lecce) where fighter pilots of Italy are trained with the pilots from other nations, including the US, Spain, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Argentina, Greece, and Kuwait.
The operational training on the T-346A aircraft prepares the pilots for the aero-tactical line before flying fighter jets such as the Eurofighter or F-35 Lightning II.
The Italian Air Force also uses live, virtual and constructive simulation (LVC) technology that helps connect simulators to live sorties.
This enables a pilot operating a full-motion training device on the ground to act as the wingman or as a target for an aircraft flying in the air.
The M-346 aircraft features flight envelope and high thrust / weight ratio, in addition to the ability to develop high angles of attack and extreme manoeuvrability.
This allows the trainer to provide flight conditions comparable to the ones offered by advanced combat aircraft.
It also optimises training effectiveness and minimises the need to fly sorties on the far more expensive and complex variants of frontline types.
Also featuring embedded tactical training simulation (ETTS), the M-346 is capable of emulating sensors, countermeasures and armaments, as well as enabling pilots to interact in real time with a virtual tactical scenario, which would help improve flexibility and reduce cost.
The aircraft’s Helmet-Mounted Display, vocal control inputs, and in-flight refuelling probe also allows it to carry out a complete tactical training syllabus.
Apart from the Italian Air Force, the M-346 aircraft has also been ordered by the Republic of Singapore Air Force, Israeli Air Force, and Polish Air Force.