Alenia Aermacchi rolled out the first M-346 advanced jet trainer destined for the Republic of Singapore Air Force at a ceremony on 7 August, at its plant in Venegono Superiore, near Varese, Italy.

Due to be handed over later this year, it will be the first of a 12-aircraft order dating from September 2010.

Alenia is working in an industrial team headed by ST Aerospace, which will supply the aircraft - along with a ground-based training system - for Singapore's Advanced Jet Trainer programme.

M-346 Singapore 

 Luca Peruzzi

The M-346 will replace Douglas A/TA-4SU Skyhawks at the Cazaux air base in France, where the RSAF conducts its Fighter Wings course.

Alenia Aermacchi and ST Aeropsace will provide the necessary logistical support for the trainers under a 20-year contract signed in July 2011. Boeing is to supply full-mission simulators for the programme.

"The successful roll-out of the first M-346 illustrates the firm commitment by ST Aerospace and Alenia Aermacchi, in support of the RSAF's next-generation training needs," says Chang Cheow Teck, president of ST Aerospace.

M-346 RSAF 

 Luca Peruzzi

Alenia received type certification from Italy's Direzione Nazionale degli Armamenti (DNA) organisation for the aircraft in July. This was followed by the signing of an agreement between the DNA and RSAF to allow reciprocal recognition of airworthiness rules and type certification.

The first cadre of two RSAF pilots are already being trained at the Italian air force's advanced training school at Lecce air base on its extensive ground-based training system.

Israel recently became the second international customer for the M-346, with an order for 30 of the type.

Source: Flight International