Leonardo arrives at Paris with the first production example of the M-345 trainer, buoyed by a recent order from Italy on the eve of the show for an additional 13 aircraft.

Certification testing is ongoing, with the Williams International FJ44-4M-34-powered jet having so far performed more than 40 flights.

Approval is scheduled for the year end, ahead of delivery to the Italian air force in early 2020.

To be designated the T-345A by Italy, its air force has an eventual requirement for 45 examples, with 18 currently on order.

Although Rome is the sole customer for the M-345 to date, Leonardo is pursuing several campaigns with the type, including Canada and Spain, as well as undisclosed countries in Africa.

Madrid could acquire as many as 35 examples, as it replaces its fleet of 64 CASA C-101s, while Ottawa's Future Aircrew Training programme is seeking a successor to its 18 BAE Systems Hawk 115s in the 2023-2024 timeframe.

In addition, Leonardo intends to develop an armed variant of the M-345 once the trainer is qualified.

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Source: FlightGlobal.com