Poland becomes second-largest M-346 operator in Europe

Poland receives final batch M346
Polish Air Force M-346 Bielik advanced trainer jets.

Poland recently became the second largest operator of the Leonardo M-346 in Europe after receiving the third and final batch of four aircraft at the end of last year. This brought the size of the Polish Air Force's M-346 fleet to 16.

In February 2014, the Polish Air Force chose the M-346 as the successor to the legendary TS-11 Iskra training aircraft. Then in November 2018, in a ceremony at the Polish Air Force’s 4th Air Training Wing in Dęblin, the M–346 received the official name “Bielik” in Polish service.

Since its introduction into the Polish Air Force fleet, the M-346 has been assigned to the 41st Training Air Base in Dęblin. During its time in service, the aircraft has proven to be a game changer for Polish combat aircraft pilots. Poland's M-346 “Bielik” system has also been certified by the US Air Force for the training of fourth and fifth generation fighter pilots, an important milestone that has enabled Poland to train many of its students at home rather than abroad.

Having achieved over 100,000 flight hours, the M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) has demonstrated excellent performance in terms of fleet availability and reliability as a technologically advanced and mature programme. More than 100 M-346 aircraft have been ordered by major international air forces including those of Italy, Israel, Poland, Singapore, Qatar and Greece. The aircraft is also the backbone of the International Flight Training School (IFTS), a collaboration between Leonardo and the Italian Air Force, which has already been selected by Japan, Germany, Qatar and Singapore.

Source: Leonardo
Image: Polish Air Force

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