Brazilian Air Force Commander flies M-346 advanced trainer jet

Brazilian Commander flies M346
The Commander of the Brazilian Air Force, Lt-Gen Baptista Jr and Major Federica, an ITAF instructor pilot, pose for a photo in front of the T-346A trainer jet at the end of a flight mission, Italian Air Force Flight School in Lecce-Galatina, South Italy.

The Commander of the Força Aérea Brasileira (Brazilian Air Force), Lieutenant Brigadier Baptista Júnior, recently visited the Italian Air Force flight school in Lecce-Galatina where he had the opportunity to fly the M-346 advanced trainer jet, according to a tweet from Baptista Jr on Thursday.

"Today I got to know the training system of fighter pilots at the Lecce Air Base, having flown in the M-346 aircraft together with Major Federica. This is an opportunity to improve the Brazilian pilots and to further strengthen relations with Italy," he said.

The Lecce-Galatina Air Base hosts a world-class center of excellence for military flight training that includes highly qualified personnel and state-of-the-art systems. It will soon be further enhanced with the transfer of the Lead-In to Fighter Training (LIFT) phase to the Decimomannu Air Base, Sardinia, as part of the Leonardo-ITAF International Flight Training School project.

The Leonardo M-346, known as one of the most advanced LIFT jet currently available on the market, is a prime candidate to replace the old F-5 and AMX trainer and light combat aircraft of the Brazilian Air Force.

Looking at the M-346 features, it boasts all the right capabilities to best replace both aircraft. It can play the role of the advanced trainer, as well as conduct light strike and reconnaissance missions. Its skills are now widely consolidated as evidenced by the successes achieved by current users, including the Italian Air Force, the Israeli Air Force, the Polish Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The M-346 can also integrate the Reccelite pod, which is the system that made the AMX a great reconnaissance aircraft.

Currently, the Brazilian Air Force has about 40 AMXs and as many F-5s whose end of life is expected to end around 2032.

Leonardo boasts a massive presence in Brazil thanks to over 200 helicopters in service there. In addition, the company has based in the nation one of its largest logistics support centers in the world that provides technical assistance, spare parts, maintenance and repairs to customers across South America.

As for the systems, Brazil has over 150 Leonardo radars on-board in-service platforms including the AMX, F-5, KC-390, P95, and Super Lynx Mk21B. Leonardo is also supplying around 60% of the avionics for the Brazilian Air Force's new Gripen E aircraft, including the 'Raven' radar, 'Skyward-G' Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST) passive targeting system and new Mode-5-capable Identification Friend/Foe systems. Together, these electronics provide the aircraft with a superior 'ISTAR' facility for intelligence gathering, combined with an advanced target detection, acquisition and tracking capability. Leonardo has also supplied Brazil with military air traffic control radars.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Lt-Brig Baptista Júnior

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