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12:07 PM, September 20, 2018
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M-345 trainer jet (Image: Leonardo)

Leonardo and South African Paramount Group signed a letter of intent (LOI) today to develop a weaponized version of the M-345 trainer jet for the African market.

Leonardo and the Paramount Group signed a Letter of Intent during the “Africa Aerospace & Defence” exhibition held in Pretoria. According to the agreement, Leonardo and Paramount, will evaluate cooperation for the development of an operational configuration of M-345 jet trainer marketed in the African market and will include the possible involvement of Paramount in the SF-260 programme and its Logistic Support services.

“The M-345 is a basic/advanced trainer with multirole capabilities and costs comparable to a turboprop aircraft. These characteristics and more make the M-345 perfectly suited for the African market,” said Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director.

The M-345 cockpit architecture is the same as the frontline fighters. The M-345 can also perform operational roles.

The pilot will be able to perform planned maneuvers beforehand, fly in formation with other airplanes interacting in real time via data-link with other pilots both on other aircrafts in flight and on ground simulators due to the sophisticated training simulator on board, the company statement said.

Furthermore it is possible to plan the mission scenarios and then download the flight data from “Mission Planning and Debriefing Station” (MPDS) re-analyzing the missions carried out during the debriefing phase.

The engine on the trainer is a turbofan Williams FJ44-4M-34 and it is optimized for military and acrobatic use.

The cockpit is based upon HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) controls, glass cockpit with three color MFD (Multi-function Display) touch screen and a Head-up display which is mirrored by a fourth screen in the rear seat.

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