Friday, December 30, 2016

M-345 basic trainer complete maiden flight


The first prototype of the Aermacchi M-345HET (High Efficiency Trainer) two-seat basic jet trainer has successfully completed its first flight from Venegono Superiore airfield (Varese, Italy) on December 29.

The 30 minute flight was flown by Leonardo test pilots Quirino Bucci and Giacomo Iannelli.

According to test pilots, the aircraft handled well and particularly the new engine was very responsive during all flight regimes.

The M-345 is intended to be a affordable and effective basic jet trainer to carry out the first stage of military pilot training with a significantly reduced acquisition and life-cycle costs compared to its turboprop competitors.

The Life cycle cost reduction is achieved by long fatigue 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).
It is equipped with an advanced avionics system that includes HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) controls, Head up Display (HUD), Multi-Function Displays (MFD) and a real-time data link. 

The operating efficiency is ensured by pressure refuelling systems and on-board oxygen generation (OBOGS), both of which reduce ground support crews and ground operation times.

M-345 have a wing span of 8.47 m (27.78 ft), length of 9.85 m (32.32 ft) and a height of 3.74 m (12.27 ft).

 The aircraft is powered by a single Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbofan engine with a thrust of 1,540 kg (3,450 lbs). Until 2012, the M-345 was designated M-311, then powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5C turbofan engine rated at 3,000 lbf (13 kN) thrust.

The trainer version will have a maximum take off weight of 3300 kg, while an armed version with five weapons stations can have a 4500 kg take off weight. Internal fuel capacity is 700 kg (1,545 lb) and service ceiling is up to 40,000 ft.

Leonardo aims to complete the flight testing within this year.

Development began in 2013, to replace Italian Air Force MB-339 trainer, which was first delivered in 1979. First delivery to Italian Air Force is expected in 2018.