Nigeria to buy 24 Leonardo M-346 multirole fighter jets


The Nigerian Government has approved the acquisition of 24 M-346 multirole aircraft for its Air Force, paving the way for the replacement of Alpha Jets as frontline fighters.

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Nigeria to buy 24 Leonardo M 346 multiple fighter jets 01 M-346FA (Picture source: Leonardo)


The exact variant of the M-346 ordered by Nigeria is still unclear. It could be be it the basic version M-346FT (Fighter Trainer) or the variant M-346FA variant (Fighter Attack). The deal is valued at an estimated €1.2 billion and will see Italian jets replacing the former Dassault Alpha Jet A/E jets in use by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

M-346FA

The M-346FA version is is the evolution of the M-346 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) to meet, with a high performance platform, an increased wide range of customer operational needs. The M-346FA is a radar equipped multirole light fighter and represents a highly cost-effective, tactical solution for the modern battlefield.

At the same time it keeps all the attributes of the M-346AJT, including the Embedded Tactical Training Simulation (ETTS) suite. This enables the M-346FA to still be used as an Advanced Jet Trainer, Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT), to offer the whole spectrum of simulated training functions in flight and to be integrated in the fully validated M-346 Integrated Training System (ITS) with Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) capabilities.

Aggressor and Companion Training roles can also be carried out effectively. This ensures maximum efficiency, effectiveness, commonality, operational flexibility and combat training capabilities to the Air Forces.

M-346FT

The twin-engine, tandem-seat M-346 has four channel Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System, redundant main systems, state-of-the-art avionics with latest human-machine interface with Multi-Function Displays (MFD), Head-Up Displays (HUD), Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) controls, in-flight safety features like PARS (Pilot Activated Attitude Recovery System). An APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) provides autonomous operations.

Its Embedded Tactical Training System (ETTS) allows the M-346 to emulate on-board sensors, weapons, Computer Generated Forces (CGF) as well as allowing pilots to interact in real time with a virtual tactical scenario in a Live (aircraft in flight), Virtual (simulators) and Constructive (ETTS) - LVC environment, further enhancing flexibility and cost reduction.

The wide flight envelope, high thrust-to-weight ratio and unmatched maneuverability allow the M-346 to offer handling similar to those of next generation combat aircraft, like Eurofighter Typhoon or the F-35. This maximises teaching effectiveness and allows flight hours to be downloaded from far more expensive front line aircraft at Operational Conversion Units.


Nigeria to buy 24 Leonardo M 346 multiple fighter jets 02 M-346FT (Picture source: Leonardo)


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