The Italian Air Force (ITAF) has received the first T-346A advanced jet trainer aircraft of the M-346 series delivered by Alenia Aermacchi at its Venegono production facility in Italy.

The delivery follows a €220m contract signed with ITAF for an initial batch of six M-346 aircraft and a ground-based training system in 2009.

The aircraft has completed final acceptance tests and will undergo operational testing at the flight test unit at the Pratica di Mare air base along with the second aircraft, which is expected shortly.

Italy plans to procure an additional nine lead-in fighter trainer aircraft under the agreement to train military pilots to fly fourth and fifth-generation combat aircraft.

Deliveries of the remaining aircraft and the associated ground-based training system are expected to be complete by 2012.