The Polish Ministry of National Defense’s Armament Inspectorate has exercised an option to acquire four additional M-346 advanced jet trainers (AJT) for the Polish Air Force.

The option is worth approximately €130m and forms part of a contract signed with Leonardo in March this year. It included the delivery of a support package for the four M-346 AJTs.

The option also covers an upgrade of the entire M-346 fleet to the Nato Stanag 4193 edition 3 IFF standard.

With the procurement of four more AJTs, Poland has become the second largest M-346 export customer.

The additional deliveries are expected to allow the Polish Air Force to finish the upgrade of its lead-in-fighter training fleet in 2022.

“We are very proud to have the Polish Air Force’s complete trust, reinforcing our close partnership with Poland.”

Leonardo chief executive officer Alessandro Profumo said: “Today, Leonardo and the Armament Inspectorate of Polish Ministry of National Defense have taken an important step together towards modernising the Polish Air Force. We are very proud to have the Polish Air Force’s complete trust, reinforcing our close partnership with Poland.”

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Leonardo Aircraft Division managing director Lucio Valerio Cioffi added: “With a comprehensive training system including a fleet of 16 M-346s, the Polish Air Force will have an outstanding, state-of-the-art training environment for its next generation of pilots.”

Leonardo currently employs 3,000 people at its PZL helicopter site in Świdnik.

Leonardo and Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) had partnered for several defence systems, such as the ground segment for the Cosmo-SkyMed earth observation satellites and the 30mm hitfist turret.

The collaboration has seen the delivery of these systems to the Polish Army.

A total of 76 M-346s are currently on order for delivery to customers in Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel.