Israeli M-346s Advance, And Are Named Lavi

 - November 15, 2013, 12:50 PM
Alenia Aermacchi reported good progress with production of the M-346 advanced jet trainer for Israel, despite a grounding of the type this past summer. The type has been named Lavi by Israel. (Photo: Alenia Aermacchi)

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.