M-346 Advanced Combat Trainer conducts fuel tank jettison tests

Alenia Aermacchi M-346 AJT (Advanced Jet Trainer) continues its testing activities.

Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master advanced jet trainer has recently conducted external fuel tank jettison tests from Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia.

The top image, taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Giampaolo Mallei, shows the “Master” returning from a test sortie with a belly fuel tank, sporting the typical black and white photographic reference targets which are used to assist in gauging how external stores (weapons or drop tanks) separate from the plane while analysing the footage recorded by hi-speed cameras attached to the aircraft (you may see one of these, painted orange, underneath the left wing tip).

The fuel tank was reportedly jettisoned on a subsequent sortie; the image below shows the plane returning to the base after the in-flight test.

CPX622 dropped tank

The M-346 has been selected by the Italian Air Force, the Polish Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Israeli Air Force that will use the “Master” to replace the A-4 Skyhawks.

Image credit: Giampaolo Mallei


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.