Malaysia is set to start taking delivery of its Alenia Aermacchi MB-339CM advanced trainers in the first quarter of 2009 after the type made its first flight in Italy this week.

The 1h debut allowed the manufacturer to conduct a check of on-board systems and avionics, and it says the successful test marked an important goal in the MB-229CM programme. The CM version of the Italian trainer is similar to the MB-339CDs delivered to the Italian air force, and features advanced avionics.

"In January 2009 the Malaysian pilot-training activities - which are to begin at Alenia Aermacchi - will proceed and the delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for the first quarter of 2009," says the Finmeccanica subsidiary. "The six remaining aircraft will all be delivered by the end of the next year, thus fulfilling the contract for the supply of eight MB-339CM advanced trainers signed in late 2006."

 © Alenia Aermacchi

The €88 million ($113 million) deal includes the supply of spare parts, ground equipment and support for two years. An industrial offset agreement calls for Malaysian companies to provide maintenance services, ejection seats and some avionics for the MB-339CM. They will also 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 still operates eight of the 13 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 its Sukhoi Su-30MKM multirole fighters.

Source: Flight International