Italy’s Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA, the Italian Ministry of Defence’s certification authority) has issued initial certification for Leonardo’s M-345 advanced jet training aircraft.
This milestone was achieved following 200 dedicated test flights, which were supported by the Aeronautica Militare’s (Italian Air Force’s) Centro Sperimentale di Volo (Flight Test Centre), the 61° Stormo (61st Wing) and the 10º Reparto Manutenzione Velivoli (10th Aircraft Maintenance Regiment).
Initial certification of the M-345 also marks Italy’s first enforcement of its new AER (EP) P-21 rule for fixed-wing aircraft. According to Leonardo, this adopts the European Military Airworthiness Requirements (EMAR-21) certification, which will “be beneficial to the export of the aircraft”.
Lucio Valerio Cioffi, managing director of Leonardo Aircraft Division, said: “This result stems from a consolidated collaboration between the industry, the [DAAA] and the Italian Air Force under a full national effort and embodies the heritage in training excellence which is widely acknowledged to the Italian Armed Forces.”
The Italian Air Force currently has 18 M-345s on order, which will be designated T-345A in operational service and will complement the air arm’s T-346A Master fleet. The T-345A will provide basic jet training, while the T-346A will be used in the advanced phase of pilot training.