M-346 advanced combat trainer flying with air-to-air missile on the wing tip pylon

Taken by Giampaolo Mallei at Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy, on Jun.25, the following images show the M-346 csx55152 flying with an (inert) AIM-9L Sidewinder on the wingtip pylon, a configuration rarely seen so far (it was spotted with a similar load only in February 2012 during tests conducted at Alenia Aermacchi factory, in Venegono).

Hence, after the first air-to-ground weapon delivery tests the “Master” is currently deployed to Decimomannu to validate the air-to-air configuration.

Image credit: Giampaolo Mallei

The image below was taken by Giovanni Giuseppe Gioi a few days earlier. Although the plane does not carry any ordnance, the photograph is particularlyinteresting as it shows the patchworked “color scheme” of the jet, still waiting to get a real paint job.

Image credit: Giovanni Giuseppe Gioi

The M-346 advanced combat trainer was selected by the Israeli Air Force, by the Republic of Singapore Air Force as well as the Italian Air Force.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.