Alenia Aermacchi has signed a contract with Israeli Ministry of Defence to supply 30 M-346 advanced trainer aircraft. The deal is part of a larger Government-to-Government agreement between Israel and Italy that includes aircraft, engines, maintenance, logistics, simulators and training, provided also by other Israeli and international companies.
The new aircraft will replace the A-4 Skyhawks currently in service and will make up the new trainer fleet of the Israeli Air Force. Delivery of the first M-346 is expected in the middle of 2014.
Giuseppe Giordo, Alenia Aermacchi Chief Executive Officer and Responsible for the Aeronautics Sector of Finmeccanica, said, “The signature of the contract with Israel for the supply of 30 M-346 – including an advanced training system – is the result of the technological and productive excellence of the Italian industry, the highly regarded collaboration between the two countries and the synergies with the Italian Defence Ministry. This achievement is an outstanding success for Italy, both at institutional and industrial level. The women and the men of Alenia Aermacchi, our partners, the small and medium enterprises that participate in the programme must be honoured to be part of this great accomplishment”.
Following the contract signed in 2010 with the Singapore Air Force and the one with the Italian Air Force in 2009, this new international achievement makes the M-346 the worldwide best seller for new generation trainer aircraft and is testimony to the excellence of the high-technology of the Finmeccanica Aeronautics Sector Companies.
The M-346 is the ideal platform for a latest-generation integrated training system. The versatility of the M-346 allows for its configuration as an affordable advanced combat aircraft. Thanks to its innovative technical characteristics, the aircraft also stands out on account of its high degree of safety and low acquisition and operating costs. The M-346 has been designed using the latest “design-to-cost” and “design-to-maintain” concepts, with an avionics system modeled on those used in new-generation fighter aircraft, such as Eurofighter, Gripen, Rafale, F-22 and the F-35.
Following the contract signed at the end of 2009 for the acquisition of a first lot of six M-346 aircraft and the ground-based training systems, the first two M-346s were delivered to the Italian Air Force at the beginning of the year.
The M-346 received its Military Type Qualification Certificate from the Italian Ministry of Defence – National Armaments Directorate in June 2011, an essential requirement to certify the full correspondence to aircraft specifications and to international military requirements.
In September 2010, the Singapore Government signed the first international contract for 12 M-346 and ground-based training systems (GBTS) under the Fighter Wings Course (FWC) program. This contract was signed with the consortium, formed by ST Aerospace (prime contractor), Alenia Aermacchi and Boeing. The first aircraft are scheduled for delivery this year. Alenia Aermacchi also finalized contracts in June 2011 with ST Aerospace to provide logistics support to the Republic of Singapore Air Force fleet of M-346.