Selex ES is progressing with the development of a next-generation cockpit for Alenia Aermacchi’s M-345 jet trainer, says Fabrizio Boggiani, director of marketing and sales at the company’s Airborne & Space Systems division.

The development activity includes a new mission computer, along with an enhanced head-up display and contemporary multi-function displays, plus the capability for the pilot to instead use a single, large-area display.

Selex anticipates the first integration activity to start in late 2016 or early 2017. A new-build prototype of the Williams FJ44-4M-engined M-345 is scheduled to make its debut flight in 2017, after a demonstrator adapted from the earlier M-311 has been tested during the first half of next year, Alenia Aermacchi recently confirmed

“We are now working with Alenia to install it in the M-345,” Boggiani says.

While there is no contract to expand its work to also include the manufacturer’s larger in-service product, he added: “We understand there can be evolution to the M-346 in particular, so we are ready – both in terms of avionics and other types of sensors, such as radar or electronic warfare – to co-operate in terms of that.”

Selex believes that other potential applications for the advanced cockpit design could include South Korea’s future TTX trainer programme, and an upgrade of Pakistan’s Chendgu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 fighter, which could be implemented from nation’s third production batch.

Boggiani said Selex’s development plan for the modular design also includes the ability to support helicopter crews operating in degraded visual environments. The company has had conversations with rotorcraft manufacturers including AgustaWestland about such applications, he added.