Azerbaijan begins negotiating to buy Leonardo M-346 advanced trainer jet

Azerbaijan buy Leonardo M-346
Azerbaijan begins negotiating to buy Leonardo M-346 advanced trainer jet. (Photo Credit: Leonardo SpA).

As part of the recent state visit to Italy by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, negotiations have started between the Azerbaijan and the italian aerospace company Leonardo S.p.A. for the acquisition of the M-346 training system.

During the meeting, a Declaration of Agreement was signed by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, Colonel Zakir Hasanov and the CEO of Leonardo S.p.A. Alessandro Profumo. It marks the start of the initial procedures which will lead to the signing of the contract in the coming weeks.

Azerbaijan's interest in the Italian aircraft dates back to 2017 when Leonardo showed the nation the M-346 at a local air base. Already in 2018 many sources had announced the signing of the contract between the two nations, but no official confirmation has ever been released regarding the agreement. If the intentions of two years ago are confirmed, Azerbaijan should introduce 10 M-346s plus an option for an additional 5.

The M-346 is currently the backbone of the military flight schools of Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel. To date, a total of 68 aircraft have been delivered and another 16 are in order.

The new jets to replace the Azerbaijani Air Force L-39 fleet, aged up to 31 years.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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