Alenia Aermacchi's T-346 trainer aircraft enters into service in Italian Air Force

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World Aviation Defense and Security News - Italy
 
 
Alenia Aermacchi's T-346 trainer aircraft enters into service in Italian Air Force
 
On Thursday, Oct 2, at the “F. Cesari” military airbase at Galatina (Lecce province), the Italian air force’s new T-346 training aircraft flew its first mission with two instructor pilots from the 61st Stormo (wing). Routine flights, conducted until now by mixed crews from the Reparto Sperimentale di Volo (flight test unit) at Pratica di Mare and test pilots from Alenia Aermacchi, will now be flown by unit personnel, marking the effective entry into service of this new, advanced training system.
     
On Thrursday, Oct 2, at the “F. Cesari” military airbase at Galatina (Lecce province), the air force’s new T-346 training aircraft flew its first mission with two instructor pilots from the 61st Stormo (wing). Routine flights, conducted until now by mixed crews from the Reparto Sperimentale di Volo (flight test unit) at Pratica di Mare and test pilots from Alenia Aermacchi, will now be flown by unit personnel, marking the effective entry into service of this new, advanced training system.
Alenia Aermacchi T-346 trainer aircraft at "F. Cesari" military airbase, Italy
     
All of the unit’s personnel turned out to greet the two instructors, Lt Col Simone O. And Capt. Gregorio D., and marked the event by posing in front of the new hangars built to house the new aircraft.

The T-346A, developed and built in Italy by Alenia Aermacchi, is the leading edge of operational training. It marks the service introduction of the air force’s new Integrated Training System, which radically transforms the training of military pilots transitioning from 4th to 5th-generation combat aircraft.

The entire training system, thanks to the new technologies it embodies, will allow newly-breveted military pilots selected to tactical air combat to train in complex scenarios (air-to-air, air-to-ground, electronic warfare) and to operate an aircraft capable of the highest aerodynamic and electronic performance.

This new turn in the air force’s training syllabus represents a qualitative leap forward that is unequalled by other air forces’ training, and will allow an enormous reduction in costs and in the financial resources necessary to maintain fighter pilots at the required "combat readiness".

The forthcoming missions of 61st Stormo pilots on the T-346 will focus on training the unit’s instructor pilots, who are themselves tactical pilots, and to the completion of the student syllabus and training manuals that will allow actual downloading of the real tactical activity of the air force’s operational units. This will improve the quality of training dispensed and boost the exit level of future pilots.

Today, a new page is turned in the history of the 61st Stormo, and a new chapter begins: after the T-6 Texan which trained student pilots in the post-war period, the MB326 which entered service in 1962, the MB339 whose “A” version arrived in Galatina in 1982, before being replaced by the “CD” version in 1997, history will mark 2014 as the year when the T-346 enter service.

The introduction of the new T-346/ITS training system, added to the training know-how that reposes within the unit, makes the Galatina pilot school a European and international center of excellence for basic, advanced and tactical flight training.

 

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