Alenia Aermacchi’s factory at Venegono has begun assembling the first of 30 M-346 advanced jet trainers for Israel. The Italian company said that the program to replace the Israeli air force’s TA-4 Skyhawks is on time and budget, “thanks to a highly skilled workforce and one of the most automated of production lines.”
The Israelis have named the aircraft Lavi, a Hebrew word meaning “young lion” previously used for the country’s indigenous fighter, development of which it abandoned in 1987.
The M-346 resumed flying in late August after a grounding in the wake of the crash in May of a pre-series aircraft. Alenia Aermacchi said then that the cause of the accident had been identified, and that the Italian authorities had approved unspecified modifications.