Radom Air Show 2015: Will the Armed Master Replace the Su-22?
(Source: Defense24.com; posted August 25, 2015)
(Edited for style)
At the 2015 Radom Air Show in Poland, the Finmeccanica booth featured a scale model of the armed variant of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master trainer jet. The Italian company considers this light jet as capable of becoming the successor of the Polish Su-22 attack aircraft. The Italian jet may be also used as an effective interceptor, used against smaller aircraft such as small propeller-driven aircraft, helicopters or UAVs.

During the 2015 edition of the Radom Air Show, the Finmeccanica booth featured a scale-model of the armed variant of the M-346 Master trainer jet. M-346 LCA model was equipped with the imitations of the Brimstone missiles, however - according to the statements by the manufacturer - this is not the only type of payload that could be carried by the Italian jet.

This year, Master was photographed with IRIS-T missiles, but the company says these were mounted on the aircraft solely for training purposes, and they could not have been fired by the crew. In Italy, Master could potentially take over the tasks executed by the 1980s-1990s AMX light attack fighters, and Finmeccanica sees it as a possible replacement of the Polish Su-22 fighters.

Finmeccanica officials say that, because the Master can be adapted to fire IRIS-T or Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, it can be viewed as a low-cost interceptor for missions where there is no need for heavier and more expensive jet fighters such as the F-16. This refers to air police missions for airspace violations by small private propeller-driven aircraft, helicopters or drones.

The M-346 Master has been selected to become a new training aircraft for the Polich Air Force. Poland has ordered eight M-346As, with an option on another four. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2016.

Finmeccanica officials noted that the Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin could become one of the most important advanced pilot training centres in Europe. The services rendered by the Dęblin facility could potentially be used by air forces of numerous countries, possibly leading to a joint pilot training center operating a jointly-owned fleet of Masters.


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