Leonardo and Paramount inked a Letter of Intent at African Aerospace and Defence 2018 in Pretoria on 20 September, agreeing to examine potential cooperation on an armed version of the M-345 trainer for the African market.
The M-345 enables air forces to reduce training times and to leverage a platform with higher performance flight characteristics than current basic/advanced training aircraft in service. It also allows for the most demanding missions to be conducted in the training syllabus, in order to achieve high quality training at significantly lower costs.
“We believe the African market shows great potential for the M-345 programme. We think that a collaboration with a high-level partner, such as Paramount, is strategic to develop a new M-345 operational configuration for the African market. The M-345 is a basic/advanced trainer with multirole capabilities and costs comparable to a turboprop aircraft. These characteristics and more make the M-345 perfectly suited for the African market,” observed the Managing Director of Leonardo’s Aircraft Division, Lucio Valerio Cioffi.
“We are very excited to launch and demonstrate our Smart Weapons Integration on Fast-Jet Trainers (SWIFT) mission system alongside the African debut of Leonardo’s M-345 jet trainer. SWIFT is focused on current threats and current customer requirements. It offers low acquisition and operation costs and is suitable for non-conventional or asymmetric warfare. It addresses the customers growing need for multi-role configuration to adapt to different mission roles without major re-configuration and extended time delay. The platform can be described as [a] short timeframe, light combat and surveillance solution utilising the best of the best in the defence industry,” added Paramount Advanced Technologies’ CEO, Ralph Mills.