The first M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer), a new basic-advanced jet trainer aircraft by Leonardo successfully performed its maiden flight at Venegono Superiore airport in Varese, Italy.
Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo Aircraft Division Managing Director, said: “Thanks to its performance and the integrated training system the M-345, which has already generated interest among many air forces worldwide, will deliver a significant enhancement in training effectiveness and operating cost reduction. It’s an aircraft that is able to combine a jet’s superior performance and effectiveness with the cost of a high-power turboprop trainer.”
The Italian Air Force, the launch customer, has a requirement for up to 45 M-345s (designated the T-345A by ITAF) to progressively replace 137 MB-339s, which entered service in 1982, and to become the Italian Air Force’s new aerobatic team airplane. The customer has so far placed an order for five aircraft and the first will be delivered in early 2020. The new M-345s will integrate the M-346s used during the advanced training phase of the Italian Air Force’s pilots. Through the International Flight Training School, the Air Force will be able to strengthen its training school’s growth and internationalization while increasing at the same time capabilities and services offered to customers.