On December 23, 2020, Leonardo delivered the first two M-345 jet trainer aircraft to the Italian Air Force, which to-date has ordered 18 units from a total requirement for up to 45 aircraft. The new type, designated T-345A by the Italian Air Force, will gradually replace the 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982.
Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft Managing Director, said: «Building on our heritage and expertise in jet trainers, the M-345 will allow our customers to achieve a significant improvement in training effectiveness while at the same time reducing operating costs. This first delivery to the Italian Air Force is a key milestone, the result of a longstanding and productive team working closely together with the operator».
The new M-345, designed to meet basic and basic-advanced training requirements, will complement the in-service M-346, which is used for advanced pilot training. Leonardo’s integrated training system developed around the M-345 platform, is representative of the company’s technological leadership in training pilots to fly current and future generation aircraft. The system benefits from experience with, and technology developed for, the M-346, which includes a «Live Virtual Constructive» capability. This allows aircraft which are flying live training missions to incorporate simulated «friend» or «foe» elements into scenarios, allowing the pilot to be exposed to the full range of possible operational situations.
The M-345 is a high-performance aircraft which supports a pilot’s transition from basic trainers to latest-generation fighters. The Italian Air Force’s acquisition of the new aircraft is an important step forward in the modernization of its fleet, with the M-345 replacing the MB-339A in Air Force’s second and third military pilot training phases. The M-345 has also been chosen as the new aircraft of the Italian Air Force’s acrobatic team, the «Frecce Tricolori».
At the Paris Air Show 2017, Leonardo presents the Aermacchi M-345 next generation high efficiency trainer, the solution for tomorrow’s training needs
M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer)
The new M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) reduces the time required for air forces to train pilots. It also gives trainees the chance to fly an aircraft that features higher performance characteristics than other basic/advanced trainer aircraft currently in service around the world. The performance of the M-345 allows it to carry out the most demanding mission types found in a training syllabus, delivering high quality training at significantly lower cost.
The M-345 cockpit architecture is the same as that of frontline fighters. The aircraft is also able to perform operational roles, thanks to an extended flight envelope, with a high-speed maneuvering capability even at high altitudes, modern avionics systems, high load capacity and performance.
The M-345 is designed with a long life-cycle and a two-level approach to maintenance, eliminating the need for expensive general overhauls. The aircraft’s Health and Monitoring Usage System (HUMS) also contributes to a lower cost of ownership.
A sophisticated on-board training simulator confers a number of benefits. For instance, M-345 pilots are able to plan maneuvers before live training, allowing for higher efficiency during flight. Trainees are also able to fly in formation with other pilots in the air and those training on the ground in simulators, via a real-time data-link. The aircraft’s Mission Planning and Debriefing Station (MPDS) allows trainees to analyse the missions they have just flown.
The M-345’s engine is a Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbofan optimised for military and aerobatic use. The cockpit is based on HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) controls and features a glass cockpit with a three-colour MFD (Multi-function Display) touch screen. The aircraft’s heads-up display is mirrored on a fourth screen in the rear seat.
|Wing Span||27.78 feet/8.47 m|
|Length||32.32 feet/9.85 m|
|Height||12.27 feet/3.74 m|
|Wing Area||135.6 feet2/12.6 m2|
|Take-off (Trainer)||7,715 lbs./3,500 kg|
|Take-off (Maximum)||9,920 lbs./4,500 kg|
|Max External Stores||2,425 lbs./1,100 kg|
|Engine, turbofan||Williams FJ44-4M-34|
|Maximum Thrust, Sea Level Static (SLS), International Standard Atmosphere (ISA)||3,400 lbs./1,540 kg|
|Max Internal Fuel||1,545 lbs./700 kg|
PERFORMANCE (Clean, ISA)
|Max Level Speed (SL/20,000 feet/6096 m)||380/425 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS); 437/489 mph; 704/787 km/h|
|Limit Speed||400 Knots Equivalent Air Speed (KEAS)/0.8 MN; 460 mph; 741 km/h|
|Stall Speed (Landing, 20% fuel)||92 Knots Calibrated Air Speed (KCAS); 106 mph; 170 km/h|
|Rate of Climb (SL)||4,700 feet/min; 1,435 m/min|
|Service Ceiling||40,000 feet/12,190 m|
|Limit Load Factors||+7/-3.5 g|
|Maximum Sustained Load Factor (50% fuel, SL)||4.0 g|
|Take-off/Landing Ground Run (SL)||2,050 feet/625 m|
|Ferry Range, 10% reserve, Clean||720 NM/826 miles/1,330 km|
|Ferry Range, 10% reserve, 2 External Tanks||1,000 NM/1150 miles/1,850 km|
|Endurance, 10% reserve, Clean/2 External Tanks||150 min/210 min|