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 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.