The Royal Netherlands Air Force’s (RNLAF) pilots are set to commence a military training with the Italian Air Force on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 (T-346) Master jet.

Earlier, an agreement was signed by the chiefs of staff of the two air forces for this collaborative exercise.

An instructor and two student pilots of the RNLAF, who will be stationed at ItAF’s Lecce-Galatina AFB Flight School, will be part of this training programme.

The participants will follow the standard training programmes of the Italian Military pilots. The new training programme was recently reconfigured to meet the operational and technological advances.

The Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master is based on the Russian Yak-130 combat trainer. It is a military transonic trainer aircraft designed to offer combat pilot training for frontline fighters with high angle-of-attack capability.

"An instructor and two student pilots of the RNLAF will be part of the training programme."

Power for the aircraft comes from two Honeywell F124 engines. The jet also features a fly-by-wire control system to enable it to remain fully controllable at angles of attack of more than 35°, and an integrated digital avionics suite with an ability to simulate sensors and threats in flight.

Its avionics are based on those used in current fighters, including the F-16, F-18 and other new-generation aircraft, such as Typhoon, Gripen, Rafale, F-22, and the F-35 joint strike fighter (JSF).

To date, Alenia Aermacchi has received orders for 59M-346 aircraft from countries including Italy, Singapore, Poland and Israel.

Image: Alenia Aermacchi advanced trainer aircraft, M-346 Master jet. Photo: courtesy of Alenia Aermacchi.