The Aermacchi M-345: market ready
Thanks to over 60 years of experience in the design and production of aircraft and integrated training systems, Leonardo is now ready to introduce the Aermacchi M-345. A highly performing trainer aircraft designed to be simple, effective and reliable, in addition to featuring extremely low maintenance and support costs, the Aermacchi M-345 is the ideal aircraft to replace the current line of basic trainers around the world.
The M-345 offers higher performance compared to heavy turboprop trainers. It provides student pilots with a training environment that simulates the flight behaviour, manoeuvre capability, and physical experience of jet aircraft. The M-345 ensures a higher exit level, the achieved quality standard upon completion of student pilot training activities.
As one of the Air Forces that intends to acquire new generation combat aircraft in the coming years, the Canadian Air Force is assessing the integrated training system most suitable for its needs. The M-345 offers state-of-the-art avionics, flight simulators and other ground-based teaching aids, in addition to an integrated simulation system on board the aircraft, all of which are seamlessly integrated into a single LVC (Live, Virtual, Constructive) training environment.
The Aermacchi M-345 in the typical Canadian trainer aircraft livery
Moreover, in Canada, the aircraft could represent the ideal replacement for the CT-114 Tutors currently flown by the Canadian “Snowbirds” aerobatic team. The Italian Air Force has also expressed interest in equipping the “Frecce Tricolori” National Aerobatic Team with the new Leonardo trainer aircraft.
M-345: The Trainer for the Pilots of the Future
The new M-345 represents the latest generation of Leonardo trainer aircraft, perfectly suited for covering the entire pilot training syllabus, from basic to advanced missions.
The aircraft is fitted with simple and basic onboard systems that require a minimum amount of maintenance, and are able to guarantee maximum safety and reliability. The result is a highly efficient trainer aircraft powered by a turbofan engine, but with purchase and life-cycle costs comparable to those of turboprop trainers and better performance compared to the latter.
The M-345 makes a turn over the Alps
The M-345’s structure, in which extensive use was made of composite materials, is built to fly a lot, with an operating life of up to 15,000 hours. The non-afterburning Williams FJ44-4M-34 engine guarantees substantial thrust, keeping fuel consumption low and features a modern digital control system.
Student pilots and instructors sit on latest generation Martin Baker Mk.IT16D ejection seats inside a comfortable cockpit, fully equipped with sophisticated instrumentation including, amongst other things, three large LCD multifunction displays – very similar to the kind of equipment future pilots will find in front-line fighter aircraft.
An Integrated Training System
Based on its 60-year experience in the pilot training sector, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division has created an integrated training system that is able to easily move pilots up from basic trainers to latest generation fighter aircraft.
The optimal balance between real flying experience and appropriate simulation brings costs down without compromising the quality of training, allowing the new M-345s to generate a greater number of training missions compared to the aircraft currently in service.
The M-345 was conceived right from the start as the heart of the advanced integrated training system, which includes all ground-based training aids, including a complete mission simulator and an integrated system for logistical support.
One of the simulators of the M-345’s integrated training system
The presence of the onboard Embedded Tactical Training Simulation (ETTS) system, based on that offered in the well-proven M-346 aircraft, is fundamental. This system is capable of simulating the most appropriate tactical scenario based on training needs, making allied or enemy forces appear, simulating the functioning of onboard sensors that are not actually present or weapons. Pilots are immersed in an environment known as LVC, which seamlessly combines flying aircraft (Live), flight simulated aircraft (Virtual) with other virtual allied or enemy forces (Constructive).
Source and Photos: Leonardo Company – 13 February 2019