Poland signs M-346 contract

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Poland’s defence ministry has signed a €280 million ($383 million) contract with Alenia Aermacchi to acquire the Italian manufacturer’s M-346 advanced/lead-in fighter trainer.

Staged on 27 February at Deblin air base – the type’s future home with the Polish air force – the signing event followed Warsaw’s formal confirmation of the M-346’s selection earlier in the month, after the successful completion of in-country verification flights.

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Alenia Aermacchi

Poland will acquire eight aircraft under the deal, which also includes personnel training and in-service support services, plus the provision of ground-based training equipment including simulators. The nation also has the option to later increase its purchase through the addition of a further four aircraft.

Selected last December following a competition also involving the BAE Systems Hawk and the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, Poland’s M-346s will provide a modern replacement for some of its air force’s aged PZL Mielec-produced TS-11 Iskras. The service’s current inventory includes 38 of the latter type, says Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database.

Alenia Aermacchi’s order book for the M-346 now includes a combined 56 examples for the air forces of Israel (30), Italy (6), Poland (8) and Singapore (12).