The Polish Air Force has just commissioned Italian Leonardo to deliver 4 M-346 Master training aircraft, which will add to the dozen aircraft already in service. The Ministry of Defense signed a first order in February 2014 with the then Alenia Aermacchi to equip themselves with 8, with an option for an additional 4. The client delivered the Bielik (the Polish name of the European pigeon bird) as it is known between November 2016 and October 2017.
The Air Force was immediately very pleased with their performance and confirmed these options in March 2018 by also requesting a support package for the fleet and confirming the possible takeover of many others. The second batch of M346, like the previous ones, was delivered between October and November 2020 at Deblin Air Base, the headquarters of the 48th Squadron of the 4th Training Wing (48th Eskadra Lotnicza / 4th Skrzydło Lotnictwa Szkolnego).
This school and its Bielik are a fundamental factor in the profound modernization of the Polish Air Force, transitioning from Soviet and Russian matter to Western in a few years, and training future fighter pilots who will operate the MiG-29 and F-16C /. D and soon the secret F-35A. The last chapter of the cooperation between the Italian company and the NATO Air Force was announced on February 3rd by Leonardo and confirmed the execution of the second purchase option.
The forecasts are for them to ship before the end of 2022, which means the aforementioned 48th Eskadra Lotnicza will have a total fleet of 16 M-346s immediately prior to receiving these units, which will require pilots previously you’re in Trainers of the last generation trained with a very advanced Avinica like the M-346 (Julio Maz Sanz).
Photo: One of the M346s of the Polish Air Force. (Photo Krzywo Prosto)
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