Leonardo has announced the signing of a contract with PGZ Group’s company Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 1 (WZL1) to provide long-term support for the Polish M-346 Bielik fleet.

Leonardo is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the Polish Air Force’s M-346 advanced fighter trainer and will be responsible for delivering the associated engineering support services to the fleet.

Leonardo said the latest contract is a result of its role in the operational system and supply chain management while WZL1 is the main contractor that handles the entire process.

WZL1 will also maintain direct cooperation with the end user and support all those areas where Leonardo cannot be involved directly.

The contract is further expected to strengthen the existing cooperation between the two companies.

For this award, Leonardo will use its experience and expertise in serving global military customers while WZL1 will leverage its experience in serving the Polish military’s aircraft and systems. This will increase the overall fleet availability to fulfil the Polish Air Force’s emerging combat pilot training requirements.

Leonardo Aircraft Division Commercial and Customer Services senior vice-president Dario Marfè said: “At forefront of jet training technology, the M-346 will continue to represent the best way to develop a fighter pilot’s skills for decades to come.

“This agreement strengthens Leonardo’s partnership with WZL1, creating new opportunities to transfer additional activities in Poland, in accordance with a proven and flexible logistic support model that Leonardo has established in several countries, which foresees a transfer of capabilities to local defence industries.”

M-346 is deployed as part of the Polish Air Force’s 41st Training Air Base in Dęblin. It entered service in November 2018 to replace the TS-11 Iskra aircraft.

Poland currently has a total of 16 M-346 aircraft in its fleet.