Italy's Leonardo-Finmeccanica has successfully conducted the first flight of the Aermacchi M-345 high-efficiency trainer military aircraft prototype.

The two-seat basic jet trainer is being developed for military pilot training, according to the company.

Conducted at Venegono Superiore airfield in Varese, Italy, the 30-minute flight was flown by Leonardo Aircraft Division's pilots Quirino Bucci and Giacomo Iannelli.

Bucci said: “The aircraft conducted itself perfectly, meeting the expectations of the design parameters while showing excellent performance.

“The engine in particular demonstrated a great capacity to react to regime changes, which is a fundamental characteristic for a basic training aircraft.”

The prototype will undergo further tests in the future to evaluate advanced avionics systems, the engine and the flight envelope expansion, including altitude, speed and manoeuvrability.

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Leonardo plans to complete testing of the prototype by the end of this year.

"The aircraft conducted itself perfectly, meeting the expectations of the design parameters while showing excellent performance."

The M-345 latest-generation aircraft has external load-carrying capability on the wing pylons and is equipped with modern avionics such as Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) controls, head up display, multi-function displays, the real-time data link.

The aircraft is powered by a Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbofan engine with thrust of 1,540kg (3,450lb).

Its operating efficiency is ensured by pressure refuelling systems and on-board oxygen generation (OBOGS), both of which reduce ground support crews and ground operation times, according to the company.

Image: Aermacchi M-345 at Paris Air Show 2013. Photo: courtesy of Julian Herzog.