ROME, April 5 (UPI) -- Alenia Aeronautica of Italy reports that the first M-346 aircraft produced for the Italian air force has successfully completed its first flight.
"The first flight of the T-346A, soon to enter service with our country's air force, is an important milestone for the M-346 program, a milestone reached through the dedication of the entire work force of the Venegono plant," said Giuseppe Giordo, chief executive officer of Alenia Aeronautica and head of the Finmeccanica Aeronautics Sector.
The company, part of Italy's Finmeccanica Group, said the flight of the combat trainer plane lasted 40 minutes. The aircraft reached an altitude of 15,000 feet, covering the planned flight envelope in terms of speed, angle of attack and load factor.
The flight also included maneuvers to assess aeromechanical handling of the aircraft and systems functionality.
The ITAF T-346A is the first M-346 series production aircraft completed. The Alenia Aermacchi site in Venegono operates a leading-edge, highly automated production line capable of delivering up to 48 aircraft per year.
The remaining aircraft for the Italian air force are being built on the new assembly line and production of the 12 aircraft ordered by Singapore's air force is also under way, the company said.
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