Giorgio Brazzelli, the chief executive of Aermacchi, was a star aeronautical engineering student at Milano University before joining the Italian air force. He worked with Agusta, becoming head of the helicopter division, then with Piaggio before joining Aermacchi where he helped drive the business back to profit and oversaw its sale to Finmeccanica. He talks to Flight Daily News about the latest issues surrounding the company.
Q: What will be the effect on Aermacchi of becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica? What impact has it had on your people and the market?
A: Our policies - typically financial and commercial - will enjoy the support of the national champion, i.e. Finmeccanica. So far, there has been no substantial impact on our people. Naturally everybody realises the importance of the sale. The market welcomes it as a fact that had long been awaited.
Q: What technologies do Finmeccanica/Alenia have that will be beneficial to Aermacchi and its M-346 programme, and of course vice versa?
A: Aermacchi and Alenia have areas of excellence in their engineering departments, with particular strengths coming from their different histories. We intend to capitalise on this. For example, in the area of the FCS/FBW, Alenia knowhow is already helping on the M-346.
Q: Do you foresee consolidation in the industry, and how much of a role will Italy have in a European aerospace industry?
A: I hope that more consolidation will occur in the European aerospace industry, in parallel with a real modernisation of the European military procurement. Today the key is the European market. I certainly see a major role for the Italian industry particularly in helicopters, military trainers and defence electronics.
Q: What is the future for the M-346 if it is not selected for the UK's Military Flying Training System and the pan-European Eurotraining programme ?
A: We are developing a modern advanced trainer that meets all existing requirements. The development is funded. We will be in the market just in time for the beginning of the replacement requirement. I would be surprised if we were not able to reach the necessary industrial and partnership agreements to be the major player in this market.
Q: Do you expect the Italian government to buy the aircraft if is not selected for Eurotraining and effectively go it alone?
A: We expect the Italian air force to buy the aircraft but we have planned for total sales of 600 units over the aircraft's life.
Q: What is the future for the SF-260, Redigo, MB-339 and S-211 ?
A: The SF-260 and the MB-339CD are in active production and are, in their respective classes, still top level products. The S-211 is the subject of recent improvement studies, as shown in Le Bourget by the S-211AD proposal. The Redigo offers individual characteristics that appeal only to certain niche markets. Obviously, for the time being, most of the R&D resources of Aermacchi are devoted to the M-346 development.
Q: Do you foresee bringing further partners onto the M-346 programme - maybe to support export campaigns? What do you expect to be the most difficult part of the test programme?
A: We welcome any partnership bringing value to the programme and improving the return on our investment. This certainly includes support to export campaigns. The most difficult part of the testing program will be the optimisation of the fly-by-wire flight control system.
Q: What is your main goal for participation at Le Bourget this year?
A: To let the aviation community know what Aermacchi is doing in its core business, which is military training, and in the field of the engine nacelles, which is our civil business.
Source: Flight Daily News