T-346A Next Generation Trainer

Riccardo Niccoli joins a mission in the Leonardo T-346A, which is revolutionising fighter pilot training for Italian Air Force and foreign students using a mix of real and ‘virtual’ flying.

The T-346A offers fighter-like performance and systems at a much lower cost for Italian and international students.
All photos by author unless stated

The Leonardo M-346 advanced trainer, designated T-346A by the Aeronautica Militare (AM, or Italian Air Force), is a surprising and extraordinary aircraft from many aspects and a full understanding of the innovations and capacity that it of ers is only truly possible by having an opportunity to fly it. Thanks to the Aeronautica Militare, Aviation News has been able to follow a training mission in this aircraft with the 212° Gruppo of the 61° Stormo at Lecce-Galatina, the unit specifically tasked with conducting Phase 4 training (known internationally as Lead-In Fighter Training, or LIFT) for young pilots destined to serve with the tactical fleets.

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