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Defence company Leonardo and simulation technologies provider CAE have created a joint venture (JV) known as ‘Leonardo CAE Advanced Jet Training’.

The JV will support the operations of the International Flight Training School (IFTS) in Italy.

It will provide training support services, including full maintenance and operation of the M-346 fighter trainer aircraft and its ground-based training system.

Furthermore, the joint venture will support the operation of IFTS base facilities.

The IFTS is a strategic collaboration between the Italian Air Force (ItAF) and Leonardo that has been created to deliver fighter training to the ItAF and other international customers.

Based on Phase IV of the ItAF syllabus, the IFTS is an advanced training programme that can rely on the M-346 ground-based training system.

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By GlobalData

The M-346 Master is an advanced and lead-in fifth-generation fighter trainer developed by Finmeccanica company Alenia Aermacchi (Italy).

It features a range of embedded training capabilities ‘enabling extensive live, virtual and constructive training’.

Leonardo Aircraft Division managing director Marco Zoff said: “The joint venture represents the ideal framework to further leverage our successful collaboration on the M-346 ground-based training system while ensuring us the agility and flexibility to meet challenging and tailored customer requirements.”

The new JV Leonardo CAE Advanced Jet Training’ will manage and conduct the daily operations of the IFTS.

According to Leonardo, the IFTS will operate a fleet of 22 M-346 advanced jet trainer jets.

CAE Defence and Security International vice-president and general manager Marc-Olivier Sabourin said: “CAE and Leonardo have a longstanding industrial relationship and we are pleased to invest jointly with Leonardo and the Italian Air Force in this groundbreaking public-private partnership to operate the International Flight Training School.

“The partnership between Leonardo and CAE will support the M-346 Integrated Training System, which is a pivotal element of a modern and innovative Lead-In to Fighter Training (LIFT) programme for next-generation pilots.”

Currently, IFTS is located at 61st Wing in near the Italian AFB and will be relocated to Decimomannu Italian AFB starting from next year.