The Israeli air force’s first Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainer will land at the service’s Hatzerim air base later this week. A further 29 of the type will follow before the end of 2016.

The air force has named the M-346 the “Lavi”; the name previously carried by the Israel Aerospace Industries fighter developed in the 1980s and scrapped because of opposition from the USA.

M-346 Israel - Alenia Aermacchi

Alenia Aermacchi

Following its introduction, the new type will make possible a profound change in the Israeli air force’s training methods. Currently, its new fighter pilots receive instruction in the advanced stage of their flight course using the Lockheed Martin F-16A/B. All students will perform this activity in the M-346, which the service says will allow them to learn how to operate radar systems and advanced weapons at this stage.

Israel’s contract for the M-346 also includes an advanced simulator, which will enable students to perform “team flying” on the ground.

The new-generation Lavi also will carry some Israeli-produced systems that the air force says will make it more “responsive” to matching its operational needs.