A Polish Air Force (PAF) pilot has flown the Alenia Aermacchi-built T-346A advanced jet trainer aircraft for the first time, as part of training programme conducted by the Italian Air Force (ITAF).

The pilot completed the first flight accompanied by Finmeccanica test pilots at the Fortunato Cesari military airport in Galatina, Italy.

The training programme is part of a contract that was awarded by the Polish Defence Ministry to Finmeccanica in February 2014.

"The training programme is part of a contract that was awarded by the Polish Defence Ministry to Finmeccanica in February 2014."

Under the contract, the company will supply eight M-346 advanced jet trainer aircraft to replace the currently operational TS-11 Iskra.

The contract also includes logistic support; a training programme for pilots and engineers; a state-of-the-art ground-based training system with dedicated classrooms and educational materials, including a full mission simulator, a highly complex device able to replicate any possible operational scenario and also to be networked with real aircraft flying training missions.

The initial phase of the training programme includes training sessions conducted by Finmeccanica, both on the ground and in flight.

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The next phase includes training sessions by the instructors of the ITAF’s 212th Flight Group of the 61st Wing.

Last month, Finmeccanica announced the start of the final assembly phase for the first two Aermacchi M-346s for the PAF.

The T-346A trainer belongs to the M-346 series advanced / lead-in fighter trainer designed to provide advanced and pre-operational training to pilots to fly the new-generation combat aircraft.

The M-346 has also been ordered by Italy, Israel and Singapore, with 59 M-346 aircraft ordered so far. The aircraft is already in service with the airforces of Italy, Israel and the Republic of Singapore.

Image: The T-346A aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Italian Air Force.