The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has signed an agreement with Leonardo for the procurement of an initial five Alenia Aermacchi M-345 High Efficiency Trainer aircraft (HET) out of a total requirement of 45.
The contract, which was announced by Leonardo on 13 January, will see the M-345 (designated T-345 in national service) replace the AMI's current 137 MB-339s while augmenting its 18 M-346s. Deliveries of the first five M-345s is due to commence in 2019.
News of the deal comes days after the maiden flight of the M-345 HET took place on 29 December 2016. First revealed in 2013, the M-345 HET is a development of the baseline M-345 jet trainer, which was a redesignation of the Aermacchi M-311 (itself an upgrading of the Aermacchi S-211 jet trainer). The aircraft has been designed to provide basic through to intermediate pilot training at reduced costs, and can be utilised in an operational capacity also.
Besides Italy, the M-345 HET has also received interest from Chile with the singing of a memorandum of understanding. However, an offer of the aircraft to France was not taken up.
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