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.
The Italian Air Force accepted the first of six Alenia Aermacchi M346 advanced jet trainers. A second aircraft will follow shortly, and the pair will be flight-tested further by the air force at Pratica di Mare airbase.
Alenia Aermacchi flew the first production M-346 on March 31. It is the first of 15 aircraft ordered by the Italian Air Force, which has designated the new jet trainer T-346A. The Italian manufacturer said that a highly automated production line capable of delivering up to 48 aircraft per year was now established at Venegono.
Former Alenia executive Carlo Logli (senior vice president of strategies and business development) replaced Alessandro Franzoni as CEO of Superjet International as part of a management shakeup that saw Franzoni move to Alenia Aermacchi to become its chief operating officer. Meanwhile, Alenia Aermacchi CEO Carmelo Cosentino replaced Amedeo Caporaletti as Superjet International’s chairman of the board.
Singapore last week confirmed its choice of the Alenia Aermacchi M346 advanced jet trainer to replace the aging TA-4S Skyhawks its air force operates. Deliveries will begin in 2012. Prime contractor ST Aerospace will manage the $412 million deal to supply 12 aircraft plus spares, and a ground-based training system (GBTS).
Alenia Aermacchi is stepping up the pace on the production line for its new
M-346 Master jet trainer at the Venegono Superiore factory in northern Italy, while also attempting to leap forward in manufacturing efficiency. Its aim is to initially produce up to 24 of the aircraft per year in a way that reduces unit costs and allows for an eventual increase in annual output to 40.
Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 Master advanced trainer is here in Singapore to compete against the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle for the republic’s air force jet trainer requirement. The M-346 has been developed by the Italian company from the Russian Yak-130 design to offer state-of-the-art training capabilities, enabling student pilots to graduate near-seamlessly to the latest frontline equipment.
Following the selection in February of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master for its advanced trainer and light combat aircraft needs, the United Arab Emirates air force and air defense (AFAD) is focused on its basic trainer requirement to replace the current Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainers. The competitors are the jet-powered Alenia Aermacchi M-311 and the turboprop Pilatus PC-21.
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 one of three companies within the Italian Finmeccanica group that deal with fixed-wing aircraft production. The others are Alenia Aermacchi, which is also active in both commercial and military aircraft, and Superjet International, the joint venture with Russia’s Sukhoi in the regional jet business. The company is eagerly awaiting the imminent maiden flight of the Boeing 787, which will open a new phase in the program.