Paris debutante Aermacchi's 'new' M311 is actually the company's long-serving S211 demonstrator refurbished and re-equipped with a new cockpit and advanced avionics.

The aircraft made its first flight after conversion on 1 June 2005, and is on display in the aircraft static park. The M311 fills a useful gap in Aermacchi's trainer line, between the propellor-driven SF260 and the MB339CD, which is now being replaced by the M346 in the advanced/lead in training role.

As such the M311 offers an alternative to turboprop basic trainers such as the Pilatus PC-9/-21, Embraer Tucano, and Beech T-6A.

The original S211 sold only in modest numbers, four going to Haiti in 1985, 25 to the Philippines and 30 to Singapore. Of these, about 28 remain active with the RSAF's 130 Squadron at Pearce in Australia, and about seven of 16 surviving aircraft are flown in the Philippines.


Aermacchi clearly believe that the aircraft still has potential, and is being offered in four competitions over the next two years, with a total requirement for 150 aircraft. There have been reports of a possible collaboration with Turkey's TAI, but perhaps the aircraft's best prospect is in Singapore where it is competing against the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, Pilatus PC-9M and Raytheon T-6B Texan II.

Source: Flight Daily News