First flight

The prototype of the new Aermacchi M-345HET (High Efficiency Trainer) two-seat basic jet trainer has successfully completed its first flight from Venegono Superiore airfield (Varese, Italy) on December 29, 2016. The aircraft was flown by Quirino Bucci and Giacomo Iannelli from Leonardo Aircraft Division.

The M-345 is the latest-generation basic jet trainer from Leonardo
The M-345 is the latest-generation basic jet trainer from Leonardo

Quirino Bucci, Project Test Pilot Trainers of Leonardo Aircraft Division, expressed great satisfaction at the end of the 30-minute flight and said: «The aircraft conducted itself perfectly, meeting the expectations of the design parameters while showing excellent performance. The engine in particular demonstrated a great capacity to react to regime changes, which is a fundamental characteristic for a basic training aircraft».

The M-345 is the latest-generation aircraft from Leonardo for military pilot training and provides global Air Forces with an economically affordable and effective solution, thanks to a significant reduction in acquisition and life-cycle costs compared to those of powerful turboprop trainer aircraft. The test campaign will be completed within 2017. The next tests will check the advanced avionics systems, the engine and the flight envelope expansion, including altitude, speed and maneuverability.

Thanks to its modern avionics, considerable external load-carrying capability on the wing pylons and performance, the new Aermacchi M-345HET is also suited for operational roles. Life cycle cost reduction is driven by long fatigue and two-level maintenance, the latter made possible by replacing the expensive general overhauls with the airframe and systems Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS). The avionics, based on the latest M-346’s experience, matches the standards of the latest combat jets, including HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) controls, Head Up Display (HUD), Multi-Function Displays (MFD), the real-time data link. The aircraft is powered by a Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbofan engine with thrust of 3,450 lbs/1,540 kg. The operating efficiency is ensured by pressure refueling systems and on-board oxygen generation (OBOGS), both of which reduce ground support crews and ground operation times.

The aircraft met the expectations while showing excellent performance
The aircraft met the expectations while showing excellent performance



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) 7,275 lbs/3,300 kg
Take-off (Maximum) 9,920 lbs/4,500 kg
Engine, turbofan Williams FJ44-4M-34
Maximum Thrust 3,400 lbs/1,540 kg
Internal fuel 1,545 lbs/700 kg
Max level speed (SL/20,000 feet/6,096 m) 380/420 KTAS/437/483 mph/704/778 km/h
Limited Speed 400 KEAS/460 mph/741 km/h (0.8 MN)
Stall speed (landing, 20% fuel) 88 KCSA/101 mph/163 km/h
Rate of climb (SL) 5,200 feet/min/1,585 m/min
Service ceiling 40,000 feet/12,192 m
Take-off/Landing ground run (SL) 1,720 feet/520 m
Ferry range 760 NM/876 miles/1,410 km
Ferry range (clean/2 ext. thanks – 10% reserve) 1,000 NM/1,150 miles/1,850 km