Analysis: Leonardo's M345 could revolutionize trainer market trend

Leonardo M345 market sales
Aermacchi M345 trainer jet.

Leonardo's new M345 could revolutionize the current trend in the trainer market by ousting turboprop aircraft from the throne.

For several decades now, turboprops have excelled in the procurement of aircraft acquisitions to cover the intermediate phases of military pilot training. One example is the recent Pilatus PC-21 victories in France and Spain. However, now turboprop aircraft manufacturers will have to contend with a new strong opponent, the M345.

The new Leonardo aircraft, intended mainly for the intermediate phases of training, offers performances similar to those of higher class jets, at the operating costs of a turboprop. Students will only need a few flight hours in advanced trainers such as the M346 to be able to fly fifth generation fighters. This will result in less involvement of more expensive aircraft in the training process.

Turboprops are also burdening the failure of the all-in-one concept promoted by their manufacturers at product launch. As is well known, almost all the armed forces today complete the training of their pilots through a phase that involves the use of jets. France and Spain are also looking to a LIFT jet to complement the work done by the new PC-21.

As the US Air Force officers say, "it is essential to decrease the distance between training aircraft and modern fighters, such as the F-35, in order to have better and faster trained pilots to be able to keep up with the threat."

Now the M345 is definitely a ready-to-use system, the maturity of the program has been proven by the recent entry into service of the first two aircraft with the Italian Air Force. Moreover, within a few years it will join the fleet of the Italian aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori.

The choice of the aircraft by the Italian Air Force is not a secondary factor as it is well known for being one of the first armed forces in the world to have established a pilot training school among the most advanced. This success was guaranteed above all by the excellent systems selected.

Although ours is just an analysis, in recent years we have often anticipated the market trend and we believe that the M345 can enjoy good sales from now on. Canada could soon become the aircraft's next customer.

Leonardo M345 Canada Snowbirds

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Photo Credit: Leonardo

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