Leonardo M-346 Thread

flateric

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DATE:13/01/11

SOURCE:Flight International
Alenia Aermacchi tests low radar cross-section kit for M-346
By Luca Peruzzi

Alenia Aermacchi has completed a low radar cross-section research project on its M-346 Master advanced jet trainer and light combat aircraft, the company says.
A series of unspecified external airframe modifications and material applications were tested to reduce M-346's radar cross-section. The work was especially focused on the aircraft's frontal area, including its two engine air inlets.
Conceived as an easy to install and remove kit, the enhancements were assessed last year by Alenia Aermacchi in partnership with Pisa-based Ingegneria dei Sistemi (IDS). The work drew on the latter's previous research experience linked to other naval, ground and air programmes and was supported using funds from Italy's four-year national defence research plan.

The kit was first applied to aircraft models and ground tested at IDS's facilities, before a final configuration was approved for flight-testing. Sources say that during the latter campaign a modified M-346 demonstrated unchanged flying and performance characteristics, with no operational limitations encountered across its entire flight envelope.
A low radar cross-section kit could be applied to a light-attack variant of the M-346 already being developed by Alenia Aermacchi.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2011/01/13/351787/alenia-aermacchi-tests-low-radar-cross-section-kit-for.html
 

archipeppe

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A really recent news and an absolute premiere for Italy: Alenia Aermacchi has been exclusively selected by Israel’s Ministry of Defence to provide M-346 aircraft for the training of Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilots.

The M-346s, which will make the Israeli Air Force’ new trainers fleet, and will replace the TA-4 Sky-Hawks, currently operated by IAF (Israel Air Force), will be a total of about 30 aircraft.

The official contract award is scheduled during the semester of 2012 and the airplanes will be delivered to the customer starting in the middle of 2014.


Further information as follows:
http://www.finmeccanica.it/Corporate/EN//index.sdo
 

thunderwarrior

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It is worth noting that this is the third victory of the M-346 over the Lockheed sponsored South Korean rival T-50 ..... UAE (yet to be signed), Singapore and Israel.
B)
 

AeroFranz

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LO kit? i hadn't heard about that. i guess it makes sense. Do you know if it's just RAM coatings or something more substantial like a 'Silent eagle' treatment?
 

Matej

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So far the information is contradictory. Some sources say that it is just for advanced training and in a clean configuration, other sources suggest that it is planned for a light combat variant. I hope to determine it during next Farnborough. What they agree on is that it was flight tested during 2011.
 

Reaper

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A trainer with LO capabilities makes also a lot of sense! (sarcasm)
 

TomS

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AeroFranz said:
LO kit? i hadn't heard about that. i guess it makes sense. Do you know if it's just RAM coatings or something more substantial like a 'Silent eagle' treatment?

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/alenia-aermacchi-tests-low-radar-cross-section-kit-for-351787/

It sounds like RAM coatings and so forth.
 

thunderwarrior

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But at Alenia Aermacchi they keep their lips sealed .....

"Ma si pensa di rendere meno “osservabili” persino gli addestratori avanzati o quantomeno le varianti da attacco leggero che si intende trarne.
E’ il caso dell’italiano Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master, per il quale è stato sperimentato e provato un kit che essenzialmente modificherebbe il muso e, forse, le due prese d’aria.
Abbiamo chiesto alla società di Finmeccanica, che ha lavorato nell’ambito del Piano Nazionale di Ricerca Militare, di saperne di più: intanto, che cosa comprenda oltre al muso in termini di riduzione della LO il “kit” in questione, poi se si è proceduto a ridurre anche la segnatura all’infrarosso, se si sia anche pensato a un “coating” particolare, e infine quale sia – almeno – l’ordine di grandezza della riduzione della RCS frontale dell’M-346 dopo la “cura”.
Da Venegono Superiore sono arrivate solo due parole: “No comment”."
Which, loosely translated, sounds more or less like this .....
"But there is the thinking to make less "observable" even advanced trainers, or at least the light attack variants that will be derived from them.
It 's the case of the Italian Alenia Aermacchi M-346 "Master", for which it was tried and tested a kit that essentially would change the nose and, perhaps, the two air intakes.
We asked the company Finmeccanica, which has worked in the National Plan for Military Research, to learn more: Meanwhile, what comprises the "kit" in the subject, apart from the nose, in terms of reduction of the LO, then if they have also proceeded to reduce the infrared signature, if they even thought of a special "coating", and finally which is - at least - the order of magnitude of reduction of the frontal RCS of the M-346 after the "cure".
From Venegono Superiore came just two words: "No comment"."
Source ..... http://cca.analisidifesa.it/downloads/4458681437_it.pdf ..... (page 9) .....
 

AeroFranz

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I wonder if it would end up looking like the stillborn EADS Mako
 

thunderwarrior

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AeroFranz said:
I wonder if it would end up looking like the stillborn EADS Mako
Frankly, AeroFranz ..... I can not understand your comment .....
The EADS MAKO never came into the world and did not go beyond the stage of mock-up ..... while the M-346 is, instead, a reality ..... and is entering into service within the Italian Air Force ..... ;)
 

Jemiba

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thunderwarrior said:
Frankly, AeroFranz ..... I can not understand your comment .....
The EADS MAKO never came into the world and did not go beyond the stage of mock-up ..... while the M-346 is, instead, a reality ..... and is entering into service within the Italian Air Force ..... ;)

I think Frank meant the similarities between the Mako, which its incorporated stealth features and
the M-346. And with some "stealthying" of the latter, the two types can even become more similar .
(Drawings from AI and http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rUHyHq68ak0/S3gbZ7KOnFI/AAAAAAAA3dY/9Z17pXESLU0/s1600-h/M346-3v.jpg )
 

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archipeppe

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Jemiba said:
I think Frank meant the similarities between the Mako, which its incorporated stealth features and
the M-346. And with some "stealthying" of the latter, the two types can even become more similar .

Franly speaking, the two aircrafts show quite different configurations even if they could use the same (and it has to be proven) stealthy technology....
 

AeroFranz

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What i meant (and Jemiba correctly interpreted, thanks for posting the graphic comparison) was that from the description of the LO kit included in the article, it seems like (wild guess of my part) the M346 would get more or less pronounced nose chines and more squarish inlets. Both features of the defunct Mako, which I found interesting. The comparison came to mind because the Mako was obviously an attempt to get reasonable LO on the frontal quarter with a minimum of compromise.

To be clear, I am not saying Alenia is copying the Mako, these are just common solutions already found in a bunch of other planes. I am quite stoked this attractive little bird is finding success (Bazzocchi would be proud!), and I am crossing my fingers for the (delayed) T-X competition.

At least that's how I interpret it. Alenia probably wants an 80%-solution-with-20%-effort kind of deal. I don't think these limited mods would affect the primary structure, or planform for that matter - too much of a hassle. Applying RAM might be the most sensible thing. Although if the nose shape is modified, high-alpha aerodynamics would have to be re-checked of course, and that could be un bel casino.
 

fightingirish

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The Israeli air force is to name its Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainer the 'Lavi', re-using the name previously carried by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) fighter developed in the 1980s.
Source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/israels-lavi-reborn-as-renamed-m-346-387862/
 

GTX

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Matej

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Not mentioned yet but also Poland last days selected M346 as its new trainer. I am not sure at the moment but initial contract should be for eight aircrafts.
 

FighterJock

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Nice find Hood. Sort of reminds me of the Hawk 200 in principle but with twin seats. Wonder how many orders Leonardo will get?
 

batigol

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Brazil is (slowly) putting its AMX fleet through a comprehensive upgrade so I doubt they'd be a customer.
 

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batigol said:
Brazil is (slowly) putting its AMX fleet through a comprehensive upgrade so I doubt they'd be a customer.

Would it not be best for Brazil to buy at least a single squadron of the M-346 FA to compliment AMX?
 

muttbutt

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FighterJock said:
batigol said:
Brazil is (slowly) putting its AMX fleet through a comprehensive upgrade so I doubt they'd be a customer.

Would it not be best for Brazil to buy at least a single squadron of the M-346 FA to compliment AMX?
No money....
 

batigol

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Brazil's air force is spending it's limited budget on the Gripen program, and with the Super Tucano - AMX - Gripen combo, I think their bases are pretty well covered.
 

kaiserd

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GTX said:
FighterJock said:
Would it not be best for Brazil to buy at least a single squadron of the M-346 FA to compliment AMX?

Why?

To clarify, the AMX was a joint Italy/ Brazil project.
The M-346 is not and has no apparent connection to Brazil.
 

dan_inbox

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The Leonardo M-346 is really the Yakovlev Yak-130, no matter what the marketing department tries to gloss over.
So there is no involvement of Brazil, and minimal commonality with any previous Macchi planes.
 

dan_inbox

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Hmmm, "early cooperation" is not as I remember things. I'm willing to be corrected, but IIRC Yakovlev developped the Yak-130 (originally Yak-UTS in 1991) on its own in response to a Russian AF requirement. Period. No involvement of Macchi.
Then in 1993 with the Yetsin-era collapse of budgets and economy in Russia, OKB Yakolev needed outside support and went out to find a western partner.

This being said, I understand fully that the Macchi-marketed version has incorporated as many local components as they can, and I also understand Leonardo's marketing department in rewriting history to a more flattering version. We just don't have to swallow all of it.
 

kaiserd

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dan_inbox said:
Hmmm, "early cooperation" is not as I remember things. I'm willing to be corrected, but IIRC Yakovlev developped the Yak-130 (originally Yak-UTS in 1991) on its own in response to a Russian AF requirement. Period. No involvement of Macchi.
Then in 1993 with the Yetsin-era collapse of budgets and economy in Russia, OKB Yakolev needed outside support and went out to find a western partner.

This being said, I understand fully that the Macchi-marketed version has incorporated as many local components as they can, and I also understand Leonardo's marketing department in rewriting history to a more flattering version. We just don't have to swallow all of it.

The basic design configuration of the M-346 is derived from the Yak-130 but they share no components and their respective manufacturers have no involvememt with or interest in each other's aircraft.
 

kaiserbill

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So we agree that it's an Italianised/Westernised version of the Yak 130 design. They bought into the Yak programme during the "no money" Yeltsin era, paid Yak for the design and technical documentation when they decided to split.
The Yak 130 design work started in 1987, flew almost 9 years before the M346 and entered service 6 years before the M346 for good reason. Leonardo then spent that additional time "westernising" the internals, and other (relatively speaking) minor tweaks and modifications.
The M346 has almost the exact same external dimensions as the Yak, bar span and rear horizontal tailplane...because it is the Yak 130 airframe and aerodynamic layout as designed by Yak and TSAGI. Aermacchi (at the time) did assist in wind tunnel testing as well as rig testing of the fbw system.
This is well documented, on threads on this site no less, so I'm unsure what the issue is?
 

dan_inbox

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kaiserbill said:
...because it is the Yak 130 airframe and aerodynamic layout as designed by Yak and TSAGI. Aermacchi (at the time) did assist in wind tunnel testing as well as rig testing of the fbw system.
This is well documented, on threads on this site no less, so I'm unsure what the issue is?
I don't think there is an issue, really. It started with a statement (or rather question, I imagine) on the commonality of airframe between M-346 and AMX. To which I answered that it is minimal because the 346 started life as a pure Yakovlev product. This triggered a series of statements about the extent of differences between the Yak and the Macchi version, with an IMO-misleading description of "early cooperation".

About the extent of differences in the final plane after one has bought "the design and technical documentation" of the other, as far as I can see we are looking at the same glass, one sees it half-full and the other half-empty. Humans and emotions, those things happen.

As for the original point, the commonality of airframe between M-346 and AMX, I believe we all see why there shouldn't be much.
 

TomS

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I suspect he question was actually whether there are airframe changes from the M-346 Master trainer to the new M-346 FA. The answer to that appears to be "no", aide from the radome and possibly some hardpoint changes. (The number of hardpoints on the M-346 is variously cited as five, seven, or nine. The FA seems to have settled on seven.)
 

netfires

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The M-346 has five (one fuselage, 4 underwing) and the M-346FA has two extras on the wingtip. Wingtip hardpoints are for AAMs, notably AIM-9L which has definitely been trialed and IRIS-T which I'm not sure about (but which they definitely intend to integrate).
 

netfires

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Also, to comment briefly on the external differences between M-346 and the Yak-130, the Yak-130 was certainly the starting point but Aermacchi did make substantive aerodynamic changes:

The wing was moved up the fuselage, having been too low on the Yak-130 and causing horizontal stabiliser blanking at mid to high angle of attack (AoA). The leading-edge extensions (LEX) were reduced and redesigned to give controllable vortex lift. Two small vertical fins were added at the wing roots to "trap" and control the LEX vortices at AoAs from 25-30° upwards. These LEX vortex controllers ensure the "vortex burst" over the wing at high AoA is symmetrical and controllable.

You can observe these changes on the aircraft quite easily, especially those vertical fins. Quite interesting stuff.
 

archipeppe

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On the 13th July, the operational version of the M-346 Fighter Attack, equipped with an optimised variant of Leonardo’s Grifo radar, successfully completed its maiden flight. The M-346FA is the new light attack variant from the Company’s M-346 Light Fighter Family of Aircraft (LFFA).

It offers multirole capabilities with a single platform, cost-effectively delivering both training and combat roles.

 

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The success story today has an unexpected outcome:

Notice how the Greek armed services, weeks ago still unduly overlooked among Europeans just completly reshaped the Southern defence of the Non-Nato alliance of that continent (Greece, Israel, UAE that will probably aggregates more Mediterranean actors).

And amazingly the raw cost of the contract will put the M-346 in the same ballpark as the Rafale, according to the recent sale (?).
 
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