French Air Force Commander visits Israeli Air Force Flight School and flies M-346

French Commander visits Israel
French Air Force Commander visits Israeli Air Force Flight School and flies M-346 Lavi advanced jet trainer.

The Commander of the French Air Force, General Philippe Lavigne, recently traveled to Israel to continue strengthening strategic cooperation with the nation. During his visit, General Lavigne met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the French Ambassador to Israel, as well as senior Israeli Air Force (IAF) officials who introduced him to the most advanced capabilities of the armed force.

While staying in Israel, General Lavigne visited some key departments of the IAF, including the Flight Academy at Hatzerim AFB. In Hatzerim, he was able to observe the training of cadets who will be assigned to fifth generation fighters and had the opportunity to join a flight in the advanced "Lavi" (M-346) in order to appreciate the capabilities of the modern jet trainer, as well as visit the simulators connected to the aircraft.

French Commander visits Israel

The IAF is very proud of the "Lavi", together with the "Adir" (F-35), it represents the modernization of its air fleet.

The M-346, manufactured by the Italian Leonardo aerospace company, is an advanced fighter instruction aircraft which replaced the "Ayit" (A-4 Skyhawk) and "Netz" (F-16A/B). The Italian aircraft is used by IAF Flight Academy Fighter Division cadets and its graduates in their Operational and Advanced Operational Training Course. These courses serve as an intermediate stage between the completion of their basic flight training and their integration in the IAF operational squadrons.

The M-346 has ushered the IAF into a new era in terms of instruction, and has brought along an essential change in IAF fighter pilot and WSO (Weapon Systems Operator) training. Over the years, the aircraft has been upgraded to include new features such as an updated program block, which enables the aircraft to carry training munition and detachable fuel tanks.

Upgrades of this kind allow the IAF to maximize the training progress of its young aircrew members, as they play an integral part in bringing the "Lavi" close to the technological level of the operational platforms which aircrew members will encounter in the IAF's operational squadrons.

Skills such as that of the Flight School, make the IAF an armed force with a valuable technological background for the nation, making it even more attractive for know-how exchange and collaboration with allies, as in the case of the partnership with France. Among other activities, the France-Israel cooperation will also see an exchange of flight training exepriences at the IAF Flight School.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: Israeli Air Force

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