|M-346FA in Leonardo's static area at the Paris Air Show 2019.|
Visitors to Leonardo's static area at the Paris International Air Show 2019 can closely observe all the best training solutions that the Italian aerospace company offers on the market. Leonardo's proposals in the sector are among the most advanced in the world and are able to satisfy all stages of the training process thanks to the M-345 and M-346 modern jets.
However, it is not just a trainer. Thanks to its modern avionics, high external load capacity (more than 1,000 kg, 4 under-wing pylons) and performance, the M-345 is also suited for secondary operational roles, with the capability to employ weapons like gun pod, rockets and 500 lb class bombs.
The Aermacchi M-346FA (Fighter Attack) is the latest Leonardo’s Aircraft Division product based on its long-term experience in the development of combat aircraft. It is the evolution of the M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) and was developed to meet a wide range of operational needs. The M-346FA is a radar equipped multirole light fighter and represents a highly cost-effective, tactical solution for the modern battlefield. At the same time it keeps all the attributes of the M-346AJT, including the Embedded Tactical Training Simulation (ETTS) suite. This enables the M-346FA to still be used as an Advanced Jet Trainer, Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT). The aircraft can also effectively covers the Aggressor and Companion Training roles.
The M-346FA displayed at Leonardo's static park in Le Bourget shows one of its key features: the Grifo Multi-mode radar. The Grifo Multi-mode radar is specifically optimized for the M-346FA and integrates a series of air-to-air, air-to-surface and navigation modes including high-resolution SAR (Syntetic Aperture Radar) and ISAR (Inverse Syntetic Aperture Radar) capabilities. It is also capable of tracking up to ten targets simultaneously in the Track-While-Scan (TWS) mode and has an operating range of over 92 kilometers.
The two aircraft represent the heart of the International Flight Training School (IFTS). The ITFS was launched by Leonardo together with the Italian air force a year ago to offer one of the best training courses for military pilots worldwide. It will be based on Galatina AFB and Decimomannu AFB. The first will house the new T-345s, while the second the T-346s.
Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: Aljosa Jarc - sierra5.net