Singapore Defence Ministry (MINDEF) announce in September 2010 a half billion dollars (S$543 million) contract to a consortium consisting of Italian manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi will provide the Aermacchi M-346 aircraft; Honeywell will supply each of the 12 aircraft the F124 engines (S$54 million each); Boeing, will provide training and simulator systems; and ST Aerospace, will provide 25-year maintenance services and overall management of the Advanced Jet Trainer replacement project. Alenia Aermacchi finalized contracts with ST Aerospace in June 2011 to provide logistics support for the fleet. Alenia Aermacchi M-346 “Master” Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) lead-in fighter for RSAF’s Fighter Wings Course (FWC) located in Cazaux in France.
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Italy has offered airspace for training to Singapore. Lecce Air Base has modern accommodation, good weather conditions year-round, available and expandable flying training areas and base growth potential. It can accommodate up to 90 students.
Lecce Air Base houses two CAE full mission simulators, three part-task trainers to be developed by the same company with assistance from Selex Galileo, plus computer-based trainers and multimedia facilities. Mission planning and debriefing stations will also be provided, and operations managed using a training mission information system. The new advanced training package will elevate Lecce’s flight school to a higher level in the international domain. It already hosts instructors from nations including Argentina, France and Greece, and a first cadre of Greek pilots also recently completed an advanced lead-in fighter training course at the site.
Singapore has evaluated both the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 (Italy’s Finmeccanica Group) and KAI-T-50 (Lockheed Martin-Korea Aerospace Industries, KAI) as potential replacements for the Douglas A-4 Skyhawks in used at its air force flight academy which is located in Cazaux Airbase (France). The M-346 (a derivative of the Russian Yakovlev Yak-130) is a twin engine, two seat aircraft with a top speed is 1,000 kilometers an hour. Max range of about 2,500 kilometers. The aircraft can also carry tons of weapons, including bombs, missiles and a cannon pod. The Aermacchi M-346 has a “Fly Away” price tag of about USD $15-million per plane.
The M-346’s ground based training system (GBTS) includes the most advanced and flexible ground based training components available today – on par with front line 4th and 5th generation aircraft. The trainers are capable of comprehensive Distributed Mission Operations (DMO). The GBTS’s full mission simulator and part task trainers use the identical flight control software as the aircraft, enabling all training events to be introduced and practiced with the same aircraft feel and reactions prior to the students’ first exposure to the actual aircraft flight training mission.
The aircraft, designed specifically to meet the needs of air forces flying 4th & 5th generation aircraft, is capable of conducting sustained high-g operations, air refueling, night vision imaging systems operations, air-to-air intercepts and data link operations. As a result of its multiple system redundancy including twin engines, twin hydraulic and twin electrical systems, the M-346 offers the highest level of safety in its class. The latest generation of avionics, state-of-the-art pilot-vehicle interface and the in-flight capability to simulate tactical scenarios, sensors and weapons immerse the pilots in a realistic and complex training environment.
The M-346’s GBTS includes full mission simulators, flight training devices, simulation based training and egress trainers.
The M-346 Master is an advanced and lead-in fifth-generation fighter trainer developed by Alenia Aermacchi (Italy), a Finmeccanica company.