Paramount Group has signed a Letter of Intent with Leonardo to jointly develop a weaponised configuration of the M-345 military trainer aircraft.
Under the deal, the two companies intend to build an operational configuration of the jet trainer to be marketed in the African market.
The agreement will also include the possible involvement of Paramount Group in the Italy-built SF-260 light trainer aircraft programme, in addition to its logistic support services.
Paramount Advanced Technologies chief executive officer Ralph Mills said: “We are very excited to launch and demonstrate our Smart Weapons Integration on Fast-Jet Trainers (SWIFT) mission system alongside the African debut of Leonardo’s M-345 jet trainer.
“SWIFT is focused on current threats and current customer requirements. It offers low acquisition and operation costs and is suitable for non-conventional or asymmetric warfare. It addresses the customer’s growing need for multi-role configuration to adapt to different mission roles without major re-configuration and extended time delay.
“The platform can be described as short timeframe, light combat and surveillance solution utilising the best of the best in the defence industry.”
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Developed by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division, the Aermacchi M-345 aircraft has been designed for the basic-advanced phases of the training syllabus, offering low acquisition and operating costs.
The trainer is capable of performing operational roles with a high-speed manoeuvring capability in high altitudes, modern avionics systems, and high load capacity and performance.
The aircraft helps reduce training times and allows trainees to use a platform with higher performance flight characteristics than other basic or advanced training aircraft currently used across the world.