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Leonardo announced on 14 December that the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MoND) has exercised the option contained in the contract signed in March this year for an additional four M-346 Advanced Jet Trainers.

The option, valued at approximately €130 million, also includes a support package as well as an upgrade of the entire M-346 fleet to the NATO STANAG 4193 Edition 3 IFF standard developed by Leonardo. With this decision, the Polish Air Force’s lead-in-fighter training fleet modernisation programme will be completed by 2022.

By acquiring four more M-346s, Poland’s fleet expands to 16 aircraft, becoming the second largest M-346 export customer. A total of 76 aircraft have been ordered by Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel to date.

“With a comprehensive training system including a fleet of 16 M-346s, the Polish Air Force will have an outstanding, state-of-the-art training environment for its next generation of pilots,” commented the Managing Director of Leonardo’s Aircraft Division, Lucio Valerio Cioffi.

With more than 50 years of experience in the training sector, Leonardo offers advanced training solutions, leading to a significant cost reduction of up to 50% for student pilot to qualify as combat ready on a latest-generation fighter.

This announcement further strengthens Leonardo’s presence in Poland, where it has 3,000 highly-skilled employees at its PZL helicopter site in Świdnik. Leonardo has a long-standing collaboration with Polish Armaments Group (PGZ), which includes the Rosomak programme for the Polish Army, providing the 30 mm HITFIST turret in addition to supplying several defence systems, such as the ground segment for the COSMO-SkyMed earth observation satellites, early warning radar and coastal surveillance systems, all of which contribute significantly to Poland’s security.

Poland’s fleet of M-346 advanced jet trainer aircraft will now total 16. (Photo: Leonardo)

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