Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 masters supersonic transition

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Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 "Master" advanced jet/lead-in fighter trainer has made its first supersonic flight, reaching Mach 1.15 (675kt/1,250km/h) at 45,000ft (13,700m) during an 18 December test flight.

Achieved using the programme's first of two prototypes during a 75min sortie from Alenia Aermacchi's Venegono airfield near Milan, the milestone will be followed by further flights intended to demonstrate the M-346's maximum speed of M1.2.

 
© Alenia Aermacchi

Alenia Aermacchi chief test pilot, Quirino Bucci says the fly-by-wire aircraft "showed excellent controllability as it exceeded the speed of the sound, and maintained its pleasant handling throughout the deceleration phase."