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Italy orders 13 more M-345 jet trainers from Leonardo

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The M-345 jet trainer. Photo: Leonardo

ROME (BNS): Italian aircraft maker Leonardo has received a contract worth 300 million Euros ($333 million) to deliver 13 more M-345 jet trainer platforms to the Italian Air Force.

The contract was signed on June 13 between Leonardo and the Armaments and Airworthiness Department of the Italian Ministry of Defence.

This follows an initial contract for five aircraft, bringing to 18 the number of M-345 trainers ordered by Italy. The contract includes ground-based training systems and a five year logistics support package, Leonardo said. 

The new aircraft, the first of which is expected to be delivered in 2020, will join the Air Force’s fleet of 18 twin-engine Aermacchi M-346s based at the Italian Air Force’s  Galatina base near Lecce in the Southern Italy, which have already been delivered to provide the advanced phase of pilot training, Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Managing Director of Leonardo Aircraft Division, said.

The Italian Air Force has identified a requirement for around 45 M-345 trainers (designated T-345A) to progressively replace its fleet of 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982.

The  M-345s will be the new platforms of Italy’s National Aerobatic Team (Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN).

The M-345 has already raised the interest of many air forces worldwide. The first production aircraft successfully performed its maiden flight on December 21, 2018 delivering excellent performance, the company said.

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