Turkmenistan appears to be new M-346 customer

Leonardo M-346FA.

According to several online media, Turkmenistan appears to have finalized a deal with Leonardo to procure the M-346FA light combat aircraft. These news are not based on official sources, but on an Italian government report and a press release from the manufacturer.

At the beginning of May, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared with the Senate details related to the export of armaments in 2019. Turkmenistan has a leading role in the report as it was the second largest export customer of the year, after Egypt. In 2019 Ashgabat purchased € 446.1 million of unspecified Italian military products.

Furthermore, Leonardo confirmed last year the sale of six M-346 aircraft in the "FA" light attack variant to an undisclosed customer.

Turkmenistan is known to be interested in the Made-in-Italy jet. In 2018, an M-346 was on display in Turkmenistan - probably as part of a promotional tour - and Turkmenian President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was photographed inside the cockpit.

However, we are currently hesitant about this deal. We do not exclude an ongoing business between Italy and Turkmenistan on military systems, but we are not sure it includes the M-346.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Leonardo

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