The Aermacchi M-346 is a military twin-engine transonic trainer aircraft. Originally co-developed with Yakovlev as the Yak/AEM-130, the partnership was dissolved in 2000 and Alenia Aermacchi proceeded to separately develop the M-346 Master, while Yakolev continued work on the Yakovlev Yak-130. The M-346 is the most advanced jet trainer and has been designed for a wide range of training capabilities and cost-effective operations. The aircraft is in service with the Air Forces of Italy, Republic of Singapore, Israel and Poland with 80 aircraft already ordered. Since 2016 the manufacturer became Leonardo-Finmeccanica as Alenia Aermacchi merged into the new Finmeccanica, finally rebranded as Leonardo in 2017.
The twin-engine, tandem-seat M-346 has four channel Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System, redundant main systems, state-of-the-art avionics with latest human-machine interface with Multi-Function Displays (MFD), Head-Up Displays (HUD), Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) controls, in-flight safety features like PARS (Pilot Activated Attitude Recovery System). An APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) provides autonomous operations. Thanks to its integrated Helmet Mounted Display, Night Vision Goggles (NVG) fully compatible cockpit, in-flight refueling probe and five hard-points for different external loads, both air-to-air and air-to-ground, the M-346 can carry out a complete tactical training syllabus for military pilots.
The M-346 is the core of an Integrated Training System that includes a complete Ground Based Training System (GBTS), comprising simulators, academics, mission planning system and computer-based training management system. In order to maximise the aircraft availability and mission generation, the Leonardo Aircraft Division has developed and offers a dedicated Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) package. The M-346 can also carry out effectively aggressor and companion training roles, ensuring maximum efficiency, effectiveness, commonality, operational flexibility and combat training capabilities to the Air Forces.
The combat capable M-346FA can perform ground attack, homeland defence and air policing missions and reconnaissance. Various munitions and stores can be carried, including IRIS-T or AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, various air-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles, free-fall and laser-guided bombs and rockets, a 12.7 mm gun pod, reconnaissance and targeting pods, and electronic warfare pods; weapon aiming is performed using the Helmet Mounted Display and the multifunction displays. All main systems are duplicated, and the flight system reconfigurable, to increase survivability and functionality in the event of battle damage being sustained.