Eurofighter and Alenia Aermacchi have released some images of the initial flight trials that began on Nov. 27, by the Alenia Aermacchi Flight Test Center at Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy. Such tests, supported by BAE Systems and Cassidians, are aimed to demonstrate that the air-launched cruise missile, already in service with both the Italian Air Force and Royal Air Force Tornado bombers (that used them in the 2011 Libya Air War), can be safely carried by the Typhoon.
The testing campaign involves the Instrumented Production Aircraft 2 (IPA2) updated to the Phase 1 Enhancement standard. The aircraft will conduct flutter tests and air data system large store interference assessment to validate the integration of the new weapon that will give the aircraft a significant capability to employ the stealthy, long-range precision weapon against high value, well defended targets, day or night, in all-weather conditions.
According to Eurofighter, the 1.300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt long) will be available to the 7 Typhoon operators (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) from 2015 when the Eurofighter Typhoon Phase 2 Enhancements become operational.
Image credit: Eurofighter/Luigino Caliaro
Even if the new basic-advanced trainer will be inducted into active service between 2017 and 2010, Finmeccanica has already unveiled what the traditional livery of the Frecce Tricolori on the M-345 HET could look like.
During the Dubai airshow 2013, Alenia Aermacchi (a Finmeccanica Company) and the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) signed an agreement to provide development, testing, certification, industrialization and logistic support of the specialized version of the MC-27J known as Praetorian.
The Praetorian, is a specialized version of the MC-27J, that will support missions for the Italian Special Forces, Comando Operativo Forze Speciali (COFS).
Among the supported configurations one of the most interesting is the Fire Support one, that sees a Spartan cargo plane transformed into a Gunship (a mini-AC-130 Spectre) equipped with a side GAU-23 30 mm gun.
Still, of particular interest for the Italian Air Force are those that envisage the Spartan equipped with Communications Intelligence (COMINT), EO/IR (Electro optical/Infra-red) sensors for ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance), Border Surveillance, Command and Control missions.
“The Italian Air Force plan to transform three C-27J’s, currently in service, into the Praetorian configuration during 2016 and will include mission systems, C3ISR equipment and palletized support / fire systems. An additional three aircraft will also have the same mission package capabilities,” an Alenia Aermacchi press release explains.
Based at Rivolto, in NE Italy, the Frecce Tricolori is the Italian Air Force aerobatic display team, the world’s largest one and the only that can claim credit for five records unmatched by any other aerobatic team in the world.
Since the 1980s, the Frecce Tricolori are equipped with a modified version of the Alenia Aermacchi MB.339A, a single engine tandem seat training and tactical support aircraft, with an overall blue color scheme and the onboard colored smokes generation system.
However, the MB.339 will be replaced by 2017 with a new aircraft, the Alenia Aermacchi M-345.
The news was given by the Italian Minister of Defense Mario Mauro, on Sept. 24, after the “Frecce” had completed 2013′s last display.
The aircraft type that will be assigned to the team is the M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) a new basic-advanced trainer, expected to enter service with the Italian Air Force between 2017-2020.
The new HET is a further development of the M-345 jet trainer (formerly M-311), the latest solution proposed by Alenia Aermacchi for the basic-advanced phase of military pilot training.
The M-345 HET will be equipped with a turbofan engine in the 1.600 kg (3,500 lb) thrust class and will feature long endurance, high load factors (+7/-3,5 g), HUD (Head Up Display) in the front cockpit with repeater in the rear cockpit, MFDDs (multi-function digital displays) for both pilot stations and HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) controls.
Built around the HGU-55P flight helmet, the new, futuristic device is currently being offered to the Polish Air Force to train student pilots destined to the F-16 Block 52+.
In fact, in connection with the advanced jet trainer tender recently launched by the Polish Ministry of Defence, Alenia Aermacchi has signed a series of agreements with the Polish aerospace industry covering joint development of technologies, and the M-346, the most advanced jet trainer and Lead-in fighter trainer available on the market that has returned to flight on Aug. 22, after the precautionary grounding that followed the loss of the second prototype on May 11, is among the candidates for the fleet of new Polish Air Force trainers, to be delivered between 2015 and 2017.
Alenia Aermacchi has strengthened its footprint in Poland with collaboration agreements with the Polish aerospace industry. Such agreemets.
Indeed, the HMD would enable them to develop skills in the use of advanced weapons systems management in operations fully representative of modern combat aircraft, making their training even more cost effective.
According to Alenia Aermacchi, that is showcasing the MSPO – International Defence Industry Exhibition at Targi Kielce, the HMD is particularly useful in those missions where the trainee employs the Embedded Tactical Training System (ETTS) for sensor and weapons systems training.
“In these missions the HMD demonstrates its outstanding capability to augment the pilot’s Situational Awareness (SA), both in Air-To-Air and Air-To-Ground missions. Optically integrated with the M-346 Head-Up Display (HUD), the M-346 HMD provides training in the combined use of HMD and HUD provided information, employing both on and off boresight targeting techniques.
The M-346 HMD is particularly effective during off boresight “target tracking”; tactical symbology is displayed on the helmet visor and provides targeting and tracking information in direct view allowing the student to concentrate on performing tactical maneuvers and weapon release in pursuit of his mission objective.”