M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer)
The Alenia Aermacchi M-345 High Efficiency Trainer (HET) is the latest military pilot trainer aircraft. The aircraft was designed with a secondary close air support capability with five underwing hardpoints. Aimed at the basic-advanced phases of the training syllabus, the design was launched officially in June 2013 to offer low acquisition and operating costs. It is based on the earlier S-211, with the addition of both structural and equipment improvements. The airframe has been strengthened, and a glass cockpit and modern avionics have been added. As a basic trainer, the aircraft is designed to complement the Aermacchi M-346 advanced trainer. The aircraft is designed to address training in advance of the more advanced syllabus of the M-346.
The first prototype carried out the first flight on 29 December 2016 while the first flight of the first pre-series aircraft was envisaged by 2018. The Italian Air Force has already ordered a first batch of five aircraft and the first delivery is expected by 2019.
The new aircraft allows the Air Forces to contain the training times and provide students with a more performing platform as compared with today’s turboprop trainers in service all over the world. Moreover, the new M-345 will allow students to be exposed to the most demanding missions of their training syllabus to obtain a high-quality training at much lower costs.
The M-345 has a cockpit fully representative of the fighters, excellent external visibility. Thanks to its wide flight envelope with high maneuver capability at high speed and both low and high altitude, its modern avionic systems, the high load capacity and to its performance level, the M-345 can carry out also operational roles.
The aircraft’s long fatigue life, the maintenance philosophy organized only on two levels that eliminates the expensive general overhaul and the Health Usage and Monitoring System (HUMS) are the key elements that help to reduce the operating and life cycle costs of the M-345.
Thanks to the aircraft’s sophisticated embedded training simulation system the pilot will see his training mission enhanced by a whole series of events which will have been arranged in the planning phase including other airplanes interacting with the mission itself and connected via data link with flying assets, ground simulator and other simulation devices. The system also envisages the presence of a Mission Planning and Debriefing Station (MPDS), with which it is possible to prepare mission scenarios, upload and download data and review the missions carried out in the debriefing phase.
The Alenia Aermacchi M-345 High Efficiency Trainer (HET) is the latest military pilot trainer aircraft. Aimed at the basic-advanced phases of the training syllabus, the design was launched officially in June 2013 and will offer low acquisition and operating costs. The HET philosophy aims to offer the superior performance and training effectiveness typical of 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 HET 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 replacing the expensive general overhauls with the airframe and systems Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS).
Avionics are based on the latest M-346 experience and match the standards of the latest combat jets, including HOTAS controls, Head-Up Displays (HUD) and Multi-Function Displays (MFD), the real-time datalink and the Embedded Simulation system aboard the aircraft. The M-345 HET is powered by a turbofan in the 1,600 kg / 3,500 lbs. maximum thrust range. The airframe is stressed for +7/-3,5 g. Operating efficiency is ensured by single-point pressure refueling and on-board oxygen generation (OBOGS), both of which reduce ground support crews and turnaround times.
In 2013 the Italian ministry of defense and Alenia Aermacchi agreed to jointly define the operational requirements for a jet-powered basic trainer aimed at competing with turboprop models such as the Beechcraft T-6, Pilatus PC-21 and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano. The M-345 is the latest attempt by Alenia to find a market for the legacy, unsold M-211 single-engine jet trainer, derived from the decades-old SIAI-Marchetti S.211. On 18 March 2016 Aeronautica Militare Italiana ( Italian Air Force) and Alenia Aermacchi announced intention to close the contract for the acquisiiton of the M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer). The aircraft would be used for the initial basic jet trainer at the 61th Stormo of the Lecce-Galatina. As a replacement for the current Italian Air Force MB.339A fleet, it would also re-equip its famous “Frecce Tricolori” aerobatic team.
On 13 January 2017 Leonardo signed two contracts with the Italian National Armaments Directorate of the Italian Defence Ministry for an initial batch of five Aermacchi M-345 trainer aircraft and for the first phase of development and delivery program of the new exploration and escort helicopter (NEES) for the Italian Army. The combined value of the contracts is in excess of 500 million euro. Mauro Moretti, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Leonardo, said: “The signing of these two contracts is the result of constructive discussions between the Italian Government and industry, which helped identify the requirements and the best technological answers. Thanks to this joint understanding, we’ll be able to deliver advanced solutions to our national customer by optimizing available financial resources and developing new technologies, skills and industrial processes in our country.”
The Italian Air Force had a total requirement for around 45 M-345s (designated as T-345 by the Italian Armed Forces) to progressively replace the 137 in-service MB-339 aircraft which entered into operation in 1982. The new aircraft will work alongside the fleet of 18 twin-engine Aermacchi M-346s already ordered and currently used by the Italian Air Force for the advanced phase of pilot training. Together, the two aircraft types will form the world’s most advanced training system for military pilots. The M-345, thanks to its high performance and advanced ground-based training systems, will provide the Italian Air Force with a significant boost in the effectiveness of training, improved efficiency and a reduction in operational costs. The first delivery was expected by 2019.
|Model||Alenia Aermacchi M-345|
|Manufacturer||Alenia Aermacchi - Italy|
|Length||32.32 ft||9.85 m)|
|Width||27.72 ft||8.45 m)|
|Weight (Empty)||5,071 lb||2,300 kg)|
|Weight (MTOW)||7,055 lb||3,200 kg)|
|Powerplant||1 x Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5C turbofan engine developing 3,190 lb of thrust.|
|Maximum Speed||460 mph||740 kmh; 400 kts)|
|Maximum Range||1,106 miles||1,780 km)|
|Service Ceiling||40,026 ft||12,200 m; 7.6 miles)|
|Rate-of-Climb||1,440 feet-per-minute||439 m/min)|
Light Strike Role / Weapons Training:|
Five hardpoints supporting up to 2,205 lb of external stores in the form of drop bombs, rocket pods, and gun pods.
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