The Israeli air force is to change the training framework for preparing new pilots at its flight academy, in preparation for the availability of Alenia Aermacchi's M-346, deliveries of which are expected from 2014.
Currently, the service's fighter pilots undergo advanced training on a choice of two types: Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs and Douglas A/TA-4 Skyhawks. With the availability of a new fleet of 30 M-346s, being acquired on the air force's behalf by the TOR Systems industry joint venture between Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, all students will receive instruction on the new type. The Italian-built aircraft will be operated by the air force's Flying Dragon squadron, from Hazerim air base.
An Israeli air force source says the M-346 fleet will allow the service to train its new pilots in the operation of radar systems and advanced weapon systems, while the provision of an advanced simulator will also enable "team flying" activities on the ground.