YouTube - M 346
trainer / light attack
one pilot + student
2 x 6,250 lbs.
37 ft. 7 in.
31 ft. 9 in.
M 346, officially Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master. trainer/light attack aircraft are built in Italy. Until March of 2000 they were being jointly developed with the Russian company Yakovlev when the partnership dissolved. Further development continued of what would become two similar looking, but distinct aircraft, at each company.
We are told that the the M 346 is the only training aircraft of the European community that can be used to teach pilots to fly the latest-generation of fighter aircraft.
The use of the M 346 as a training aircraft is intended to lower overall training expenses by minimizing the time that used to be spent transitioning from less advanced trainers to the latest-generation fighter aircraft.
Avionics of the M 346 provide the pilot and co-pilot/student with three full screen color data displays each. They are capable of presenting threat assessment, electronic counter-measures, ordnance management, and systems management, in addition to navigation.
The latest-generation controls of the M 346 combined with head-up and helmet display technologies enable full control of its vital systems without the pilot's hands leaving the control stick. Training technologies include the ability to present a number of combat simulations to the student through the aircraft displays.
The digital quadruple redundant fly by wire controls of the M 346 enable it to closely emulate the high alpha and high-g maneuvers of modern fighter aircraft. An automated control system helps prevent loss of control during stalls and spins.
Use of the latest-generation light weight, high strength materials throughout the M 346 keeps aircraft weight down, enabling larger payloads, better acceleration, lighter wing loading, and higher fuel economy.
The wings of the M 346 use advanced aerodynamics to capture air flowing from their leading edges. This creates a vortex over the upper wing surface. At high angles of attack, as air goes over the vortex it more closely follows the shape of the wing in order not to lose lift, such as is common on older aircraft designs. The shape of the wing minimized drag at higher speeds to enable flight without the use of afterburners.
The turbojet engines of the M 346 are digitally computer controlled to permit fast acceleration and economical operation, while the closed oil system ensures that the engines will receive lubrication during all maneuvers.
The M 346 has three hard points located under each wing and one under its fuselage plus provisions for missiles at each wing tip. It can carry a conformal fuel tank, bombs or pods under its fuselage.
To date Italy deploys nineteen M 346 aircraft, Israel thirty, Singapore twelve and Poland twelve with four more on order.
RC M 346
The RC M 346 from Diamond Models has a 77 in. wingspan with a length of 91 1/2 in. It features flaps, a carbon epoxy fuselage, with airex/fiber wings. It can use up to 120n turbine engines. Ready to fly weight is about 31 lbs.