Tag Archives: Aermacchi M-346

Polish Aermacchi

The roll-out ceremony for the first of eight Polish Air Force M-346 aircraft took place on June 6, 2016, at Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s facility in Venegono-Superiore (near Varese). The event was attended by the Polish Deputy Defense Minister, Bartosz Kownacki, the State Under Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Gioacchino Alfano, and by the Managing Director of Leonardo-Finmeccanica Aircraft, Filippo Bagnato.

The Alenia Aermacchi M-346 is the most advanced trainer aircraft available on the market
The Alenia Aermacchi M-346 is the most advanced trainer aircraft available on the market

Mauro Moretti, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Leonardo-Finmeccanica said: «Leonardo-Finmeccanica is the only company in the world able to offer a complete technological solution that reduces pilot training times and prepares them to fly sophisticated, new-generation military aircraft. Today, many countries are turning their attention to integrated training systems that include both aircraft and ground-based simulation systems. These capabilities already have a proven track record at the Italian Air Force’s training center in Galatina (near Lecce) where 11 NATO and Allied Air Forces are trained; pilots obtain their licenses via systems and aircraft built by Leonardo-Finmeccanica».

The first of 8 Aermacchi M-346 advanced trainers ordered by Poland in 2014 will now undergo a flight test programme to certify bespoke systems chosen by the Polish Air Force such as the brake parachute. It will then be delivered to the customer by the end of the year along with a second aircraft. Deliveries will be completed by November 2017.

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 has been ordered by the Air Forces of Italy (18), Singapore (12), Israel (30) and Poland (8) for a total of 68 orders.

Aermacchi M-346 specifically designed to prepare pilots for high performance new generation aircraft
Aermacchi M-346 specifically designed to prepare pilots for high performance new generation aircraft


Aermacchi M-346

The M-346 is the most advanced lead-in fighter trainer aircraft currently produced, and the only new-generation trainer optimized for pilots who will go on to fly the latest-generation, high-performance military aircraft. Thanks to its advanced technical design and adoption of modern «design-to-cost» and «design-to-maintain» concepts, the M-346 has reduced acquisition and operation costs. Furthermore, reducing the maintenance hours requirement of the aircraft has increased its cost-effectiveness.

The M-346 features innovative design solutions. It is an aircraft with a full-authority quadruplex Flyby-Wire control system that, thanks to the optimization of its aerodynamic configuration, allows the aircraft to remain fully controllable at angles of attack of over 30 degrees. This, combined with the aircraft’s twin-engine configuration, the duplication and redundancy of its electric and hydraulic systems and a choice of state-of-the-art equipment, makes the M-346 the most modern preoperational tactical training aircraft in the world.

The M-346 is equipped with a digital avionics system, fully modelled on those of latest-generation military aircraft such as the Eurofighter, Gripen, Rafale, F-16, F-18, F-22 and the future F-35. It is therefore well-suited for every phase of advanced and pre-operational training, downloading flight hours from the more expensive frontline aircraft.

The M-346’s wide flight envelope, its very high thrust/weight ratio and extreme maneuverability make it an aircraft capable of reproducing, for the trainee pilot, flight conditions similar to those they will find on the combat aircraft they will go on to operate, thus maximizing the effectiveness of training.

The M-346 also integrates the ETTS (Embedded Tactical Training Simulation) with the ability to simulate a complete suite of sensors, countermeasures and armaments and also to create a virtual tactical scenario, simulating air, naval and land forces, friend or foe, interacting in real time with the aircraft during the training missions.

The M-346 features hard points, allowing external loads to be carried, as well as a Helmet Mounted Display, vocal commands and an in-flight refuelling probe. The aircraft’s excellent performance, combined with options to install an Electronic Warfare System, Tactical Data Link, Multi-mode Radar and equipment to reduce the aircraft’s radar signature, the M-346 provides high survivability and effectiveness when operating in hostile theatres.

The M-346 Integrated Training System (ITS) includes, alongside the aircraft, an exhaustive Ground Based Training System (GBTS). This enables the student pilot to learn and rehearse the entire aircraft syllabus and training objectives on the ground, before replicating them in flight. This provides significant cost savings when comprehensively training «fast jet» military pilots.

A core element of the ITS is the Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC), linking simulators to live sorties, allowing pilots flying a training device on the ground to be linked with those flying on real aircraft. It allows trainee pilots to add complexity to training exercises while reducing the risks and costs associated with flying several aircraft during training missions.

Next-generation trainer

Raytheon Company is offering an integrated, next-generation training solution for the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training competition. Raytheon, one of the world’s preeminent training and avionics companies, is the prime contractor, with principal partners Finmeccanica, CAE USA and Honeywell Aerospace.

Two T-100's in formation flight (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)
Two T-100’s in formation flight (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)

«The success of our nation’s future pilots depends on a comprehensive trainer to prepare them to take full advantage of the capabilities unique to advanced 4th and 5th generation fighters», said Rick Yuse, president of Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems. «Our affordable, low risk, open systems solution combines a proven aircraft with a suite of fully integrated training technologies. Our team is best positioned to bring the essential experience, capabilities and core competencies together to meet the United States Air Force’s mission requirements».

Nearly 45,000 pilots and crew have earned their wings on the training systems designed, developed and fielded by this Raytheon led-team. This solution combines the T-100, an advanced variant of the Aermacchi M-346, with a leading-edge Ground Based Training System.

«The T-100 offers dynamic kinetic performance, while also delivering an embedded, tactical training system that immerses pilots in realistic mission scenarios», said Filippo Bagnato, managing director of Finmeccanica Aircraft Division. «The M-346, the basis for the T-100, is already operational and preparing pilots around the world for the challenges of today’s complex fighter platforms».

CAE USA designs and develops some of the world’s most sophisticated, simulation-based training systems for lead-in fighter trainer aircraft.

«Our system will prepare Air Force pilots to safely and efficiently fly the most advanced fighter aircraft», said Gene Colabatistto, group president – Defense & Security, CAE. «Our integrated simulation technologies will play an increasingly critical role in ensuring sophisticated, safe, cost-effective training for the United States Air Force».

Honeywell Aerospace will provide twin, F124 turbofan engines to power the T-100 via the International Turbine Engine Company (ITEC) joint venture. With more than 800,000 operating hours across the entire F124/F125 turbofan engine family to date, the F124 delivers best-in-class thrust-to-weight ratio, proven reliability and enhanced efficiency.

«Honeywell’s F124 turbofan engine ensures training and light combat aircraft have the best power, easiest maintenance, flexibility and low life-cycle cost to support all types and roles of missions», said Carey Smith, president, Defense and Space, Honeywell Aerospace. «The F124 engine reduces pilot workload with new automation features that allow a pilot to focus on flying the aircraft for its mission».