Finmeccanica’s M-346 AJT: Who’s the Master?
March 28/18: Poland plans more trainers Poland plans to order four more M-346 trainers which will boost the size of its advanced jet trainer feet to 12 aircraft. This option signed with Leonardo is worth more than $143 million. The order should be delivered by 2020 and includes a support package. According to Leonardo its total order for this plane type is at 72 units, procured by Israel, Italy, Poland and Singapore. Leonardo is also taking part in the USAF T-X completion via its DRS subsidiary. The M-346 project began in 1993, as a collaboration with Russia. The aircraft’s design for vortex lift aerodynamics, and thrust/weight ratio of nearly 1 : 1, allow it to remain fully controllable even at angles of attack over 35 degrees. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale.
Alenia’s Aermacchi’s M-346 advanced jet trainer began life in 1993, as a collaboration with Russia. It was also something of a breakthrough for Alenia Aermacchi, confirming that the Finmeccanica subsidiary could design and manufacture advanced aircraft with full authority quadriplex fly-by-wire controls. Those controls, the aircraft’s design for vortex lift aerodynamics, and a thrust:weight ratio of nearly 1:1, allow it to remain fully controllable even at angles of attack over 35 degrees. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale. Not to mention Sukhoi’s SU-30 family, which has made a name for itself at international air shows with remarkable nose-high maneuvers.
The Russian collaboration did not last. For a while, it looked like the Italian jet might not last, either. It did though, and has become a regular contender for advanced jet trainer trainer contracts around the world. Its biggest potential opportunity is in the USA. For now, however, its biggest customer is Israel.
Italy’s M-346: Fast Plane, Slow Aerospace
From Partnership to Solo Flight
Slow Aerospace & M-346 Exports
M-346: Contracts and Key Events
2014 – 2018
2007 – 2008
2004 – 2006
The USA’s T-X
Competitors & Market
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