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MSPO 2021: Leonardo to offer M346 FA to Polish Air Force

Leonardo Poland is to offer its M346 FA (Fighter Attack) aircraft to replace the Polish Air Force's obsolete Su-22 M1, Marco Lupo, the company's president confirmed during the International Defence Industry Exhibition (MSPO).

Poland already uses the M346 Master Lead-in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) to train military pilots. According to Lupo, the Master's strike variant might be the economical alternative for a supersonic full-scale attack aircraft. The M346 FA could significantly improve the Polish attack aircraft fleet without impacting the defence budget. Leonardo's platform might also be used for reconnaissance missions, digitally aided close air support (DCAS), and limited strikes against aerial and ground targets supporting Poland's F-16 C/D block 52+ and future F-35A.

As the M346 FA is equipped with Link-16, it could carry most of the NATO weapons used by the Polish Air Force. It is also capable of co-operating with other aircraft and land systems, meaning this configuration greatly exceeds Polish Su-22 M1 and MiG-29 capabilities.

During a briefing on 8 September, Lupo told Janes that Leonardo is ready to co-operate with Polish industry on production and maintenance. Moreover, he pointed out that the aircraft could become the inexpensive solution to improve Poland's strike capabilities because training and logistic infrastructure is already built.

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