Nigeria confirms the purchase of 24 M-346FA aircraft from the Italian company Leonardo

نيجيريا تؤكد شراء 24 طائرة M346FA من شركة ليوناردو الإيطالية

Nigeria officially confirmed the purchase of 24 Leonardo M-346FA light fighter aircraft on May 27. The aircraft will be operated in two fighter squadrons of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

The M346FA will replace the aging Alpha Jet ground attack aircraft.

The M-346FA will also be used as the main jet trainer for the country’s newly received Chengdu PAC JF-17 fighter.

The Leonardo M-346 is a family of advanced jet trainer aircraft for the Army. The M-346 is designed for its primary role of advanced combat training, where the aircraft’s performance and capabilities are used to train pilots for modern light combat aircraft.

Initially the aircraft was developed jointly with Yakovlev of Russia as the Yak/AEM-130.

However, the partnership was dissolved in 2000 and Alenia Aermacchi proceeded to develop the M-346 Master separately. Meanwhile, Yakulev continued work on the Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten.

In 2016 Alenia Aermacchi then changed to Leonardo-Finmeccanica and changed back to Leonardo in 2017.

The M346 is currently in service with the air forces of Italy, Israel, Singapore, Greece, Turkmenistan and Poland.

The M-346FA is an air-to-air combat-capable multi-role version with a 3-ton payload spread across 7 points of suspension, advanced Grifo-M346 radar, countermeasures, and stealth features including engine air intake grilles and wing leading edge and radar absorbent coatings.

The aircraft was first introduced on 18 June 2017 in a static display at that year’s Paris Air Show.

The M-346FA is marketed for export to countries in South America and East Asia. The manufacturer claims that this aircraft is capable of carrying out operational missions at a much lower cost than front-line fighters.

The M-346FA retains all the features of a trainer aircraft while adding next-generation equipment and sensors, making it an effective operational solution in the light combat role.

The aircraft is equipped with the Grifo-M-346 multi-mode mechanical scanning radar, which was developed by Leonardo and improved for the M-346FA.

The M-346FA is protected by a complete passive defense system (DASS – Defense Aids Subsystem) as well as an integrated communications system and Tactical Data Link (TDL), in accordance with NATO requirements.

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Written by rfrfx

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