New Aermacchi M-345 prototype completes first flight

By Ryan Maass
Leonardo plans to complete flight tests by the end of 2017. Pictured: an Alenia Aermacchi M-345 at a Paris air show in 2013. Photo by Julian Herzog/Wikimedia Commons
A prototype of Leonardo-Finmeccanica's Aermacchi M-345 High Efficiency Trainer military aircraft took its first flight during a recent test.
The 30-minute flight took place on Dec. 29 at the Venegono Superiore airfield in Varese, Italy. The plane was flown by two pilots from Leonardo's aircraft division, including Giacomo Iannelli and Quirino Bucci.
"The aircraft conducted itself perfectly, meeting the expectations of the design parameters while showing excellent performance," Bucci said in a press release. "The engine in particular demonstrated a great capacity to react to regime changes, which is a fundamental characteristic for a basic training aircraft."
Leonardo says the company intends to finish flight testing the prototype by the end of 2017 ahead of planned avionics, engine, and flight envelope expansion projects to enhance the plane's speed, altitude, and maneuverability.
The Aermacchi M-345 HET is a planned training aircraft designed to prepare military pilots for handling combat jets in addition to operational roles. The Italian Air Force plans to procure the craft to replace its existing MB.339A fleet.
The twin-seat trainer is powered by a turbofan in the 1,600 kg / 3,500 lbs. maximum thrust range.
 
New Aermacchi M-345 prototype completes first flight Reviewed by Bizpodia on 21:10 Rating: 5

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