Finmeccanica’s M-346 AJT: Who’s the Master?
October 25/16: Following the butting of horns over who runs the show, Raytheon and Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s joint effort as part of the USAF T-X trainer competition is back on track . Both companies came together in February this year to offer the Italian firm’s T-100 jet trainer; however, Raytheon’s role as prime contractor has riled Leonardo since they designed and built the aircraft and had already sold the M-346, on which the T-100 is based, to Italy, Israel, Poland and Singapore. Other bones of contention include work share roles and assembly as well as the possibility by Raytheon to export the aircraft as an “American” plane to governments who prefer doing business through the US Foreign Military Sales program.
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 – 2016
2007 – 2008
2004 – 2006
The USA’s T-X
Competitors & Market
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)