M-346 passes electrostatic test

March 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

TURIN, Italy, March 6 (UPI) -- An electrostatic discharge test for trainer aircraft configured with external tanks has been successfully completed by Alenia Aermacchi of Italy.

The test on the M-346 was performed at Alenia Aermacchi's plant at Venegono Superiore with support from the laboratory of Cobham, the British engineering firm.

The success, Alenia said, was a step forward in the aircraft's certification.

Electrostatic discharge is a phenomenon likely to occur during aerial refueling. Because of differences between aircraft types, an electrical discharge of more than 100,000 volts can occur when a refueling probe approaches the tanker basket.

The company said that in the test, no damage or malfunction of M-346 electronic systems were detected. Also, no sparking in the aircraft tanks was detected.

The M-346 is a transonic aircraft based on the Yak-130. It has a maximum speed of 658 mph, a range of 1,020 nautical miles and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet.

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