Alenia Aermacchi has signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) for joint development of M-345 high efficiency trainer (HET) aircraft during the 2013 Paris International Air Show, currently underway at Le Bourget Exhibition Center in France.
Signed with the MoD's National Armaments Directorate, the deal seeks the immediate establishment of a joint working team to define technical specifications of the aircraft and draw the course of action for the preliminary study and cost-effective development, with the aim of possibly entering into service between 2017 and 2020.
A development of Alenia's M-345 basic-advanced jet trainer, the M-345 HET will replace the Italian Air Force's MB-339 military trainer and light attack aircraft, Defense News reports.
Alenia Aermacchi chief executive officer Giuseppe Giordo was quoted by the publication as saying that the aircraft would be manufactured at a cost of $100m in the next two years.
A company spokesman said the aircraft will also be offered to air forces as a replacement for first generation Hawk, Alpha Jet and the L-39 Albatros trainer aircraft.
Powered by a 3,500lb thrust class-engine, the aircraft will feature advanced avionics, including a head up display in the front cockpit and a repeater in the rear cockpit, as well as multi-function digital displays for both pilot stations and hands on throttle-and-stick controls.
The aircraft will provide a training syllabus aligned with that of the M-346, enabling interoperability during joint training missions.
Presence of a health and usage monitoring system, pressure refuelling system and an on-board oxygen generating system, combined with two-level maintenance concept and easy access to the simple on-board systems, reduce the aircraft's operating costs, lowering interval time between flights, says Alenia.
Image: The M-345 High Efficiency Trainer being displayed at the 2013 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France. Photo: © 2012 Alenia Aermacchi - A Finmeccanica Company.