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Paris Air Show 2023: Airbus, Leonardo sign training MOU based on M-346 jet

Under an MOU signed on 21 June Airbus and Leonardo will explore future pilot training opportunities based on the M-346 Master AJT aircraft. (Leonardo)

Airbus and Leonardo agreed to jointly explore future pilot training opportunities based on the latter's M-346 Master advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft.

The two companies will “jointly promote integrated training systems, and study future solutions to tackle air dominance challenges”, according to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on 21 June at the Paris Air Show 2023 in Le Bourget .

“Under this collaboration, both companies will jointly address and pursue business opportunities for the provision of advanced training systems leveraging on M-346's proven experience, thanks to over 100,000 flight hours performed worldwide by the aircraft,” a joint statement explained. “Airbus and Leonardo will also explore deepening ties and industrial co-operation to tackle future military pilot training domains.”

As noted in the announcement, the European advanced trainer market will account for more than 400 new aircraft deliveries in the next 20 years, plus an additional EUR12 billion (USD13.12 billion) for the provision of advanced pilots training services.

The M-346 is in use as an AJT in various militaries, in several cases not only to train their own pilots but also pilots of allied countries. Italy uses the type at the 61st Air Wing at Galatina to train its national pilots, as well as those from Argentina, Austria, France, Greece, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Greece recently opened its own international flight training school in Kalamata, where it will use the M-346 to train its pilots, and those of other countries. The M-346 AJT is also in service with Israel, Poland, Qatar, and Singapore, and has been ordered by Azerbaijan.

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