The Aermacchi M-345 is the latest military pilot trainer aircraft developed by Leonardo's Aircraft Division. Aimed at the basic-advanced phases of the training syllabus, it will offer low acquisition and operating costs. The aircraft is intended to replace the current Italian Air Force MB.339A fleet, also re-equipping its famous “Frecce Tricolori” aerobatic team.
The new M-345 aims to offer the superior performance and training effectiveness typical of a jet aircraft at costs comparable to high-powered turboprop trainers. Thanks to its modern avionics, considerable external load-carrying capability and performance, the M-345 is also suited for operational roles. Life cycle cost reduction is driven by long fatigue life and two-level maintenance, the latter made possible by the Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) that will eliminate the expensive general overhauls.
Avionics are based on the latest M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer experience and match the standards of the latest combat jets, including HOTAS controls, Head-Up Displays (HUD), Multi-Function Displays (MFD), the real-time datalink and the Embedded Tactical Training Simulation system resident on board the aircraft.
The aircraft is powered by a high efficient Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbofan in the 1,540 kg / 3,400 lbs. maximum thrust range. The airframe has +7/-3,5 g limit load factors. Operating efficiency is ensured by single-point pressure refueling and on-board oxygen generation (OBOGS), both of which reduce the need of ground support crews and turnaround times.