Qatar acquired M-346 jets with Embedded Tactical Training System

DOHA, ($1=3.64 Qatari Riyal) — The planned purchase of M-346 training aircraft from Qatar for months has finally taken place. Leonardo, its manufacturer, has agreed to deliver half a dozen of these devices to the Qatari Air Force, learned, citing InfoDefensa. Various Italian media reported last November that Qatari authorities were preparing the purchase for an undisclosed number of devices, coinciding with a visit by Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Gerini to Doha, the capital of the Middle East.

Nigeria buys 24 Italian M-346 Master light combat aircraft
Photo credit: Flight Global

Now the international media Defense News published the final purchase, citing a spokesman for the transalpine company as a source. This operation also describes the agreement already being implemented for the training of Qatari pilots in Italy, within the framework of the international school opened by Leonardo and the Italian Air Force, in which Germany and most recently Japan Air Self-Defense Forces [JASDF].

The M-346, as the model is called in the Italian Armed Forces, which has also acquired Poland, Israel, and Singapore, is ready to train future crew members on fighter jets as advanced as the European Eurofighter, Gripen, and Rafale, and the American F- 16, F-18, F-15, F-35, and F-22.

M-346 twin-engine transonic advanced jet trainer

For its creators, the Italian development is “the most modern air simulator available today and the only one in the world designed to train pilots who will fly a new generation, high-performance military aircraft.” To do this, it is equipped, among other achievements, with a digital avionics system that fully reproduces that used in modern fighter jets.

The M-346 is based on the Russian design Yak-130, as its genesis is part of a joint initiative between Alenia Aermacchi [part of Leonardo] and Yakolev. The aircraft has a length of 11.5 meters and a wingspan of 9.7 meters and can fly at transonic speeds [between 980 and 1230 kilometers per hour] without the need for an afterburner. Its operating ceiling is 45,000 feet [13,700 meters above sea level].

A key feature of the M-346 is the built-in tactical training system [ETTS]. ETTS can emulate various equipment, such as radar, guidance capsules, weapons, and electronic warfare systems; in addition, the ETTS can interact with various munitions and other equipment carried on board.

The system can operate in stand-alone mode, in which simulated data and scenario information, with threats and targets, are loaded before take-off, or in a network during which data is received and operated in real-time by ground monitoring stations via the aircraft data link.

ETTS can generate realistic computer-generated forces [friends and enemies]. For post-mission evaluation and analysis purposes, accumulated data, such as video from the optional helmet-mounted display, can be retrieved and viewed.

Apart from Italy, Israel, Poland, Singapore, and Italy, months ago it turned out that there is another country that has also acquired the Italian model, and that it could be Qatar, although there are experts who believe that it is Turkmenistan. On the other hand, two years ago it became known that Azerbaijan is processing the purchase of several units. Spain also believes that M-346 is the best option to replace the old F-5 fighters of the Spanish Air Force.


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