VARESE, Italy, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Italy's Alenia Aermacchi reports delivery to the Italian air force of the second of six T-346A, M-348 series, trainer planes under a $288.7 million contract.
The aircraft is at Pratica di Mare air base, where a series of tests will be performed by the air force before the planes enter operational service.
"Acceptance of the first two aircraft in the M-346 series and the launch of the operational evaluation phase by the Italian air force represents the achievement of a significant goal for the M-346 program," said Giuseppe Giordo, chief executive officer of Alenia Aermacchi and head of the Aeronautics division of Alenia's parent company, Finmeccanica.
"The Italian air force, which has contributed to the development of the entire M-346 training system right from the start, will be the first air force in the world to be equipped with an integrated training system based on the M-346, the most advanced trainer aircraft available on the market today, and one in which many international customers are showing increasing interest."
The M-346 is a two-man trainer jet with a maximum speed of almost 800 miles per hour, a range of 1,181 miles, and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet. Its avionics are modeled on those used on aircraft such as the Gripen, Rafale, F-16, F-18 and F-22.
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