Leonardo performed a 30min maiden flight of its Aermacchi M-345 trainer on 29 December from its Venegono Superiore facility in northern Italy.
“The aircraft conducted itself perfectly, meeting the expectations of the design parameters while showing excellent performance,” says Quirino Bucci, a test pilot for Leonardo’s aircraft division.
He offered particular praise for the Williams International FJ44-4M-34 engine which “demonstrated a great capacity to react to regime changes, which is a fundamental characteristic for a basic training aircraft”.
In addition to serving as a trainer, the avionics and wing pylons allow for use as a light attack aircraft.
In addition, Leonardo claims the M-345 offers significantly lower costs than other comparable aircraft. “The M-345 is the latest generation aircraft from Leonardo for military pilot training and provides global air forces with an economically affordable and effective solution, thanks to a significant reduction in acquisition and life-cycle costs compared with those of powerful turboprop trainer aircraft,” it says.
The avionics match those of operational fighters, Leonardo adds, including hands-on-throttle-and-stick controls, head-up display, multi-function display, and real-time datalinks.
Tests will continue through 2017 and will include checks of the avionics, engine and flight envelope expansion, including altitude, speed and manoeuvrability.