The Leonardo M-345 High Efficiency Trainer (HET) aircraft has received its initial type certification from the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The milestone, announced by the manufacturer on 8 May, saw the MoD’s Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA) conduct 200 test flights of the jet trainer aircraft and it is shortly set to enter service with the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI).
“The Initial Certification of the M-345 marks the first case of enforcement of the new AER (EP) P21 rule for a fixed-wing aircraft. This rule adopts the European EMAR-21 – (European Military Airworthiness Requirements) – a stringent international certification requirement that will also be beneficial to the export of the aircraft,” Leonardo said in a statement.
The AMI has signed for 13 aircraft, with deliveries to commence in the coming weeks, and retains a total requirement for 45 M-345 HET aircraft to replace its MB-339s and augment its M-346s.
Besides the company orders for Italy, the M-345 HET has received interest from Chile with the previous signing of a memorandum of understanding. However, an offer of the aircraft to France was not taken up. Leonardo has also touted the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam as being potential customers.
First revealed in 2013, the M-345 HET is a development of the baseline M-345 jet trainer, which was a redesignation of the Aermacchi M-311 (an upgrade of the Aermacchi S-211 jet trainer). Company specifications give the M-345 HET a top speed of 420 kt at 20,000 ft; a stall speed of 88 kt; a rate of climb of 5,200 ft/min; a service ceiling of 40,000 ft; a sustained load factor of +4 g; a fuel consumption (average) of 380 litre/h; a maximum range of 760 n miles (1,407 km) (clean) or 1,000 n miles (with external tanks); an endurance of 2.75 hours (clean) or 3.85 hours (external tanks); and a take-off run-and- landing roll of 520 m.
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