On October 7, a webinar was held, organized by the Italian defense firm Leonardo, in which Mr. Eduardo Munhos, Vice President of Engineering Products, Solutions and Sales, spoke about the opportunities of the M-346FA in Latin America.
Munhos confirmed that Leonardo is actively offering his M-346FA advanced / light attack trainer to various countries in the region, as the aircraft meets the operational requirements of most potential operators.
According to the analysis carried out by blogbeforeflight.net, Leonardo’s interest in Latin America is comprehensible, as many local air forces should soon start looking for replacements for their old fleets.
Latin America has certain features that can guide the interest in renewal towards machines such as the Leonardo M-346FA. We are talking about a low probability of armed conflicts with external enemies, fleets made up of different types of trainers and light combat aircraft, pre-eminence of counter-insurgency operations or combat against drugs.
Many Air Forces in the region still operate the long-lived A-37 Dragonfly, with about 64 units still in service. If we add other aircraft such as the C-101 from Chile, the F-5E from Honduras or Mexico, or the K-8 from Bolivia (although here the main candidate to replace it is the Pampa), it follows that there is a potential market for more than 90 airplanes, which Leonardo would love to cover.
But what can the M-346FA offer to these Air Forces?
In its FA variant (for fighter / attack), the Leonardo M-346 offers a light multirole, subsonic fighter with a low operating cost.
It has a multi-mode Grifo family radar, interrogator friend / foe (IFF), secure communications and data link (Link16), in-flight refueling capability, self-defense systems and 7 hard points for weapons and pods. of modern sensors.
It can perform the following missions:
• Air Police / Slow Target Interceptor
• Close Air Support (CAS)
• Counter insurgency (COIN)
• Advanced Air Controller (AAC)
• Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR)
• Battlefield Interdiction (BAI)
• Tactical Air Support for Maritime Operations (TASMO)
• Tactical Recognition
The M-346FA continues to have full capabilities as an advanced trainer, making use of a modern Embedded Tactical Training Simulation (ETTS) system, which is capable of simulating complex operational scenarios, for highly realistic training.
According to Leonardo, the M-346FA allows to unify advanced training and combat capabilities on a single platform, which should be of great interest to the Air Forces, due to the savings in logistics costs that this implies.
Finally, Leonardo also offers in its portfolio a more advanced version, the M-346 LFFA, which has superior attack and self-defense capabilities.