Italy has signed for 13 more Leonardo M-345s in a deal worth €300 million ($333 million), bring to 18 the number of the new trainers ordered by Rome.

Deliveries are expected to begin in 2020, and the Williams International FJ44-4M-34-powered jets will be located at Galatina air base near Lecce.



They will join 18 M-346s already operated by the Italian air force for advanced training missions and form part of a plan to create an international training academy for military pilots.

The contract includes ground-based training systems and a five-year logistics support package.

In total, the Italian air force has a requirement for 45 M-345s to replace a 137-strong fleet of aged Alenia Aermacchi MB-339s, including for its Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team.

An initial production example performed its maiden sortie in December 2018.