VENEGONO SUPERIORE, Italy, July 10 (UPI) -- The first two of 30 M-346 trainer aircraft ordered by the Israeli air force were delivered this week by Alenia Aermacchi.
The aircraft, which will replace the TA-4 aircraft now in use by Israel, were delivered to the Hatzerim Israeli Air Force Base.
"This is an important milestone for Alenia Aermacchi which, in less than two years, has signed the contract, performed the roll-out of the first aircraft last March and delivered the first two M-346s, on time with the program, a result which marks the excellent team job achieved in strict collaboration with Alenia Aermacchi's industrial counterparts, TOR and Honeywell", the company said.
The M-346 is a transonic aircraft. It is based on the Yak 130 and is the result of a joint venture between Alenia and Yakovlev. It has a maximum speed of 572 knots, a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles and an endurance of about 2.75 hours.
In addition to the aircraft, Alenia Aermacchi is providing Israel with ground-based training systems in collaboration with other companies.
The company said six more M-346s are nearing completion at its plant near Milan and five additional aircraft for Israel are in the process of structural part assembly.
The company expects to have delivered all 30 planes by the end of 2016.