Leonardo has been awarded two contracts totalling €500m from the Italian National Armaments Directorate of the Italian Defence Ministry.
Under a contract, the Italian Air Force will receive an initial batch of five Aermacchi M-345 trainer aircraft.
Another contract was signed for the first phase of development and delivery programme of the new exploration and escort helicopter (NEES) for the Italian Army.
Leonardo CEO and general manager Mauro Moretti said: “The signing of these two contracts is the result of constructive discussions between the Italian Government and industry, which helped identify the requirements and the best technological answers.”
The Italian Air Force currently requires around 45 M-345s in order to replace the 137 MB-339 aircraft currently in service.
The new aircraft will be used alongside the M-346s, which the air force already uses for the advanced phase of pilot training.
The Aermacchi M-345 high efficiency trainer is equipped with modern avionics, including HOTAS controls, head-up displays (HUD), multi-function displays (MFD), the real-time datalink and the embedded simulation system aboard the aircraft.
Powered by a turbofan in the 1,600kg / 3,500lb maximum thrust range, the aircraft is also suitable for operational roles.
Additionally, the Italian Army requires 48 units of NEES to replace the existing fleet of AW129, which are expected to be retired from service by 2025.
Image: Leonardo and the Italian Defence Ministry sign a deal for new Aermacchi M-345 trainer aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Leonardo.