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Leonardo pitches M-345 to Slovakia

The M-345 is billed as having the capabilities of a jet trainer with the operating costs of a turboprop. (Leonardo)

Leonardo is pitching its M-345 High Efficiency Trainer (HET) to Slovakia as a potential replacement for the country's Aero L-39CM/L-39ZAM advanced jet trainer aircraft.

The Slovak Air Force (Vzdušné sily Slovenskej Republiky: VSR) has a requirement to replace its small fleet of Czechoslovak-era Aero L-39CM/L-39ZAMs with up to eight new advanced jet trainer aircraft as it prepares to receive its new Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft from 2023.

As Janes reported in August 2019, the three L-39CM and two L-39ZAM aircraft received in 1972 and 1976, respectively, cannot be sustained beyond 2025, meaning the VSR has an urgent requirement to replace these in the short term.

The M-345 being promoted by Leonardo is a development of the baseline M-345 jet trainer, which was a redesignation of the Aermacchi M-311 (an upgrade of the Aermacchi S-211 jet trainer). Company specifications give the M-345 HET a top speed of 420 kt at 20,000 ft; a stall speed of 88 kt; a rate of climb of 5,200 ft/min; a service ceiling of 40,000 ft; a sustained load factor of +4 g; a fuel consumption (average) of 380 litre/h; a maximum range of 760 n miles (1,407 km) (clean) or 1,000 n miles (with external tanks); an endurance of 2.75 hours (clean) or 3.85 hours (external tanks); and a take-off run and landing roll of 520 m.

To date, the M-345 has been acquired by the Italian Air Force, and is being promoted to Canada, Chile, Spain, and Thailand, among others.

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