Turkmenistan has publicly displayed its newly acquired M-346FA light attack aircraft.
TheM-346FA (Fighter Attack) is a light attack version of M-346 jet trainer developed by the Italian firm Leonardo.
The first two aicraft were spotted on footage released by state news agency of Turkmenistan. The news agencsy reported that urkmenian President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov personally appreciated the new aircraft and flew one of them.
According to the Scramble, in 2019, the Turkmen Air Force has placed an order worth $545 million with Leonardo, including two M-346FA and four M-346FT trainers, as well as eight AW139 multi-purpose helicopters.
The M-346FA light combat aircraft evolved from the M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) combining high performance with the versatility to tackle multiple missions.
Leonardo says the M-346FA is a radar equipped multirole light fighter and represents a highly cost-effective, tactical solution for the modern battlefield. At the same time it keeps all the attributes of the M-346AJT, including the Embedded Tactical Training Simulation (ETTS) suite. This enables the M-346FA to still be used as an Advanced Jet Trainer, Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT), to offer the whole spectrum of simulated training functions in flight and to be integrated in the fully validated M-346 Integrated Training System (ITS) with Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) capabilities.
The M-346FA is equally well suited to air-to-ground (CAS/COIN and Interdiction with Precision Guided Munitions), air-to-air (air policing and homeland defence) and tactical reconnaissance missions.