The Polish Air Force nears the delivery of the first M-346 Master.
On Mar. 2, 2016, Lt. Col. Konrad Madej became the first Polish pilot to fly the Italian M-346 Master, the advanced jet trainer which is soon going to become the primary training aircraft of the Polish Air Force, replacing the TS-11 Iskra trainers.
Madej flew the jet together with a test pilot of the Finmeccanica company from Lecce-Galatina airbase in Italy, home of 212° Gruppo (Squadron) belonging to the 61° Stormo (Wing) of the Italian Air Force, the unit the operates the T-346s (this is the ItAF designation) in Italy.
Konrad Madej is the commander of the Polish 48th Training Squadron, based at the 41st Training Aviation Base in Dęblin, being a facility which cooperates with the Dęblin Air Force Academy, also known as the “School of Eaglets”.
Poland acquired 8 examples of the jet, the first four of which are already being assembled at the Venegono Superiore Finmeccanica facility.
They are expected to be received by the Polish Air Force in November this year. Along with the Master jet, Poland also acquired the whole training program, including ground-based systems. The ground segment of the training facilities include flight-planning and mission analysis stations, mission simulator, ejection simulator, along with a computerized training system.
Meanwhile, six Polish pilots are involved in the training courses delivered by the 61° Stormo at Lecce.
After completing their M-346 training program in Italy, these pilots will become instructors at the Training Aviation Base in Dęblin.
Image Credit: Finmeccanica
This jet is actually a Russian design based on the Yak 130 witch was “co-developed” with the Italian Alenia Aermacchi in the late nineties