|Leonardo promotes the International Flight Training School in Turkey.|
The Italian aerospace company Leonardo will participate in the International Defense Industry Fair - IDEF 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey, from 1 to 4 May.
During the fair, Leonardo will present its best-selling products to Turkey including the C-27J multi-mission aircraft and AW139 helicopter. In addition, it will introduce its International Flight Training School (IFTS) to the nation. The IFTS was launched by Leonardo together with the Italian Air Force and is based on the M-346 advanced jet trainer. It combines Leonardo's technological and product capabilities with the experience of the Italian Air Force in the field of military flight training, making it a great platform to prepare pilots for the latest generation of combat aircraft like Eurofighter and F-35.
The IFTS could represent an excellent choice for the Turkish Air Force (TuAF) that will soon have to consider whether to continue to conduct the Lead-in Fighter Training at home or send the student pilots to a foreign flight school. Although TuAF has a good fleet of basic trainers composed of KAI KT-1 and TAI Hürkuş turboprop aircraft, it will soon have to withdraw the T-38 Talon from service. The Talon covers the advanced and decisive phase of pilot training that determines the transition to modern combat aircraft. It is very important that this training takes place with aircraft that have characteristics similar to those of F-16 and F-35 fighters. Currently the nation is developing the possible replacement of the Talon, the Hurjet, but it is not certain when it will be operational. The market offers ready and proven platforms such as the M-346 which can also cover the CAS role as required by TuAF.
The choice of the M-346 would allow Turkey to continue the excellent cooperation with Italy in the defense sector, as in the case of the T129 program.
Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Italian Air Force