The first of 8 Aermacchi M-346 advanced trainers for the Polish Air Force off for its first flight at Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s facility in Venegono Superiore (Lombardy), that reported by defence24.pl.
The M-346s will enter into service with the 4th Training Wing Squadron at Poland’s Deblin base. With the M-346, the base aims to become an international hub for the training of military pilots.
The M-346 Master is an advanced and lead-in fifth-generation fighter trainer being developed by Alenia Aermacchi (Italy), a Finmeccanica company. The aircraft is a development of the YAK/AEM-130, a joint programme with Yakolev Design Bureau and Sokol Manufacturing Plant of Russia. In July 2000, Alenia Aermacchi announced that it would cancel the joint project and develop the aircraft alone, as the M-346.
The M-346 provides combat pilot training for front line fighters with high angle-of-attack capability. The aerodynamic design of the M-346 uses vortex lift to provide manoeuvrability and controllability at very high angle-of-attack using a fly-by-wire control system.
The YAK/AEM-130 has flown in prototype form since 1996. As the Yak-130, the aircraft was selected in March 2002 as the Russian AF’s next generation combat trainer.
The Aermacchi M-346, named T-346A by the ITAF, is an essential part of the Integrated Training Systems (ITS) for pre-operational training.
The M-346 has been ordered by the Air Forces of Italy (18), Singapore (12), Israel (30) and Poland (8) for a total of 68 orders.