M-346FA: THE ADVANCED AND LOW-COST SOLUTION FOR LIGHT ATTACK ROLE

Leonardo M-346FA fighter attack
Leonardo M-346FA (Fighter Attack).

Several nations are looking for a low-cost solution to replace their light attack aircraft such as Armenia and Bulgaria, both equipped with the Soviet-era Su-25 aircraft. Some aerospace companies have already submitted their offer to them as in the case of Saab who recently proposed 8 Gripen jets to the Armenian Defense Minister as reported by aravot.am. Even the Italian company Leonardo has recently developed an aircraft that could meet the needs of these nations, the M-346FA.

The M-346FA was shown for the first time during the Paris Air Show 2017 and has attracted the interest of many nations. It is equipped with a variant of the Grifo multi-mode fire control radar and can load a variety of missiles, cannons and guided bombs.

The M-346FA’s characteristics make it not only an excellent advanced trainer, but also a light fighter aircraft capable of carrying out operational missions at far lower costs than those of front-line fighters. With seven pylons for external loads, the M-346FA will also be able to operate very effectively as multi-role tactical aircraft, capable of air-to-surface, air-to-air and tactical reconnaissance missions.


Key attributes include:

- Twin engined configuration and four channel flyby-wire, flight control system provide systems redundancy for exceptional mission reliability and battlefield survivability
- High fuel capacity and air-to-air refuelling capability for long range endurance and Time on Station
- High-end, net-centric communications suite
- High rate of climb
- Exceptional speed and manoeuvrability, even at low altitude and when fully-armed
- A multi-mode radar (Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems Grifo) specifically optimized for the M-346FA
- A design architecture that allows the integration of a wide range of external stores and sensors: Tactical data link, Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS) including Radar Warning Receiver (RWR),
Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS), Chaff & Flare Dispenser (IFF Interrogator, secure comms, ECM pod and qualified Radar Cross Section reduction kit)
- Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) and Voice Command (VC)

External store integration includes:

- GBU-12/16 (500/1000 lb) Paveway II LGB
- Lizard 2 LGB (500 lb)
- GBU-38 (500 lb) JDAM
- GBU-32 (1000 lb) JDAM
- GBU-49 (500 lb) Enhanced Paveway II GPS/LGB
- Lizard 4 GPS/LGB (500 lb)
- Small Diameter Bomb (SDB)
- MK.82FF (500 lb) general-purpose bomb
- MK.82HD Snakeye (500 lb) general-purpose bomb
- MK.83 (1000 lb) general-purpose bomb
- Rocket Launchers
- Gun pod
- Air-to-Air Missiles (Iris-T and AIM-9L)
- Up to 3 External Fuel tanks (630 lt each)
- Recce pod
- Target Designator Pod

Performance (clean)

Max level speed: 590 KTAS
Limit speed: 572 KEAS/1.15 MN
Rate of climb: 21,000 ft/min
Service ceiling: 45,000 ft
Limit Load Factors: +8/-3 g
Endurance clean/3 ext. tanks: 2 h 40 min/3 h 50 min
Powerplant

Engines, turbofan: 2 Honeywell: F124-GA-200
Thrust, max, sls, ISA: 12,500 lb (2x2850 Kg)

Weights

Take-off (clean): 17,085 lb (7.750 Kg)
Take-off (maximum): 22,930 lb (10.400 Kg)

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: Leonardo


No comments

All comments related to the contents of our articles are welcome. It is not allowed to post promotional messages, links to external sites, or references to activities not related to this blog.

Powered by Blogger.