Singapore's future fleet of 12 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainers will receive comprehensive in-service support from the Italian company and ST Aerospace following the confirmation of two contracts worth a combined €170 million ($241 million).

Announced on 24 June, the contracts cover the delivery of supply chain management and engineering and field support services at Cazaux air base in France for 20 years.

"The first agreement is for the joint management of the M-346 suppliers between ST Aerospace and Alenia Aermacchi. This covers after-sales support, which includes spare parts provisioning, and repair and overhaul services, with sharing of risks, sales and profits between the two partners," the Singaporean company said.

Singapore signed a production order for the M-346 in September 2010, with the new type to replace Douglas A/TA-4SU Skyhawks in delivering its air force's Fighter Wings Course.

 M-346 close-up - Alenia Aermacchi
© Alenia Aermacchi

ST Aerospace has provided depot maintenance for the Skyhawk fleet at Cazaux since 1999, and delivered a total support package for the type since 2007. This encompasses "flight line operations, aircraft, engines and component maintenance, engineering services, inventory and warehouse management", it said.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force will become the first export operator of the M-346, with the Italian air force also expected to field 15 examples designated as T-346As. Alenia Aermcacchi is also involved in trainer contests with the type in Israel and Poland, with the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 its main rival in both battles. It also intends a T-100 version for the US Air Force's T-X requirement.

"Additional opportunities exist on leading markets and other European and worldwide countries," Alenia Aermacchi said.

Source: Flight International