The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has selected the Alenia Aermacchi M346 as its new advanced jet trainer, in preference to the Korean Aircraft Industries (KAI) T-50. A joint venture between IAI and Elbit will acquire some 30 aircraft and provide training courses to the IAF under contract.
The first M-346 advanced trainer for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is on schedule to be delivered by the end of the year, according to manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi (Booth J39), which is currently producing the first batch.
Leading Italian exhibitors at the Dubai show are demonstrating the company’s increasing capability in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Airbus Military and Alenia announced new orders for their rival medium-size tactical transports. Airbus Military has sold two C295s to the Ghana Air Force, which will use them for troop transport, paratrooping, medical evacuation and humanitarian operations. The company said the C295 was chosen because of its ease of maintenance and proven operational capabilities in any environment, including deserts.
This month the Italian air force’s fleet of 12 Alenia Aeronautica C-27J transports racked up its 10,000th flying hour, during the course of which the type has consistently demonstrated high operational efficiency. The fleet was delivered to the 46th air wing at Pisa between 2007 and last year, and since 2008 the airplanes have been used on theater operations in Afghanistan.
Alenia Aermacchi is reorganizing the layout of its Venegono plant in Italy in preparation for the start of serial production of its M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. Its contract with the Italian government for six aircraft and simulation equipment (nine more aircraft are to follow) is technically ready and awaits signatures by all the ministries involved.
Alenia Aeronautica is claiming leadership in Europe of unmanned aircraft development, following the recent completion of new flight tests of the Sky-Y demonstrator. The five flights took place within specially designated airspace in the Puglia region of Italy, and followed 14 earlier flights on the test range at Vidsel in northern Sweden.
Piaggio Aero Industries is developing a special version of the P.180 Avanti for the Italian air force intended for navaid flight inspections. Private firm Norwegian Special Mission will supply its Unifis 3000 inspection terminals for the reconfigured airplanes, due to enter service in 2010. Italy’s Aeronautica Militaire 14th Stormo is providing four Avantis from its fleet for upgrades with the flight inspection gear.
At the Finmeccanica exhibit here at Farnborough (Outside OE2) visitors once again can find Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. At a first glance the aircraft looks the same as that exhibited at previous airshows, but close up it is possible to note some of the differences featured in this first preproduction aircraft, which was rolled out from the Italian group’s assembly line in April.
The final day of the NBAA convention in Orlando, Fla., last month opened to gray clouds and gathering rain. But for the Piaggio Aero team, there was nothing but sunshine and broad smiles.
For the Italian aviation company, the three-day show was highlighted by a record-setting flight, orders for 11 new airplanes, entry into the fractional-ownership market and a 600-hr engine TBO extension.
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