Malaysia has signed a contract with Finmeccanica group company Alenia Aermacchi to buy eight MB-339CD advanced/lead-in fighter training aircraft for delivery from November 2008.

The €88 million ($114 million) deal includes the supply of spare parts, ground equipment and support for a two-year period. An industrial offset agreement calls for Malaysian companies to provide maintenance services, ejection seats and some avionics for the MB-339CM, as the Malaysian variant of the aircraft will be known.

In addition, Malaysian companies will produce composite parts for the civil aircraft programmes in which Alenia Aermacchi participates, and could eventually be involved in the development and maintenance of an MB-339CD flight simulator.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force operates eight of the 13 Aermacchi MB-339As it bought in the early 1980s. The MB-339CMs will play a key role in the training syllabus for pilots destined to fly Malaysia's recently ordered Sukhoi Su-30MKM multi-role fighter aircraft.

The CM version of the Italian trainer is similar to the second batch of the MB-339CDs delivered to the Italian air force, equipped with advanced avionics.

Alenia Aermacchi announced earlier this year its decision to re-open the MB-339 production line in anticipation of further export sales (Flight International, 1-7 August).

Source: Flight International