Leonardo has signed a contract with the Armaments and Airworthiness Department of the Italian Ministry of Defence for the supply of 13 M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) aircraft, for a total value of 300 million Euros.

This follows an initial contract for five aircraft bringing to 18 the number of M-345 trainers ordered by Italy. The contract includes ground-based training systems and a five year logistics support package.

Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo said:

“This contract for the M-345 is the result of the constructive dialogue between industry and the Italian Ministry of Defence, leading to a thorough understanding of their needs and to jointly identify the best technological solution. In line with our Industrial Plan we are devoting significant effort to the development of our training business, both in terms of platforms, ground capabilities and services. Thanks to our fruitful partnership with the Italian Ministry of Defence and the progressive introduction of the M-345, Italy will see the establishment of an advanced international training academy for military pilots.”

Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Managing Director of Leonardo Aircraft Division, said:

“With its high performance and advanced integrated training system, the M-345 will significantly improve the effectiveness of the Air Force’s training, improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. The new aircraft, the first of which is expected to be delivered in 2020, will join the Air Force’s fleet of 18 twin-engine Aermacchi M-346s based at the Italian Air Force’s  Galatina base near Lecce in the Southern Italy, which have already been delivered to provide the advanced phase of pilot training.”

The Italian Air Force has identified a requirement for around 45 M-345 aircraft (designated the T-345A) to progressively replace its fleet of 137 MB-339s, that have been in service since 1982,  and to become the new platform of Italy’s National Aerobatic Team (Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN).

The M-345 has already raised the interest of many air forces worldwide. The first production aircraft successfully performed its maiden flight on December 21, 2018 delivering excellent performance.

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Levi Goldsteinberg

Considering how utterly broken Italy’s economy, debt and deficit are, it’s impressive how much of a priority they still put on defence spending


“Italy to slash half a million dollars from defence spending”

Italian defence spending is 1.15% of GDP according to Reuters. Still bellow the 2% that it should be. In previous years it’s %age had been in decline has has troop numbers. It has equipment plans, but will it be able to afford those plans? Italy and other Euro/NATO countries have, like us, been hit be austerity and have cut back on proposed numbers.


Given the old adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch you have to wonder given the Italian defence budget and their delivery of lots of new kit where exactly the gaps are in their model. Do they skimp on training, spare parts, munition stockpiles? One thing is for sure, something isn’t getting done properly with the amount of money they spend.

Paul T

Id guess that the Italians do what anyone else would do with a limited Budget,they just prioritise,at the moment the main priority seems to be the Italian Navy with a substantial Fleet Renewal going on.


I was under the impression that the M-346 was the Italian training aircraft.

Alan Reid

Hi Farouk, I think the M-345 is the basic training aircraft, and the M-346 is the advanced jet trainer. (Think of the old RAF Jet Provost/Hawk combo of the 1980s).