Nigeria Presidency Confirms Leonardo M-346FA Acquisition



M-346FA (picture credit score: Alessandro Maggia through Leonardo)

Nigeria formally confirms the acquisition of 24 M-346FA jets.

Nigeria’s curiosity within the Leonardo M-346FA (Fighter Assault) isn’t a secret: whereas by no means formally confirmed, the information that the Sub Saharan African nation was to turn into the brand new buyer of the “gentle fight” model of the M-346 superior jet coach, has been round for a number of years.

Ultimately, the official affirmation that the Nigerian Air Pressure (NAF) will ultimately obtain two dozen M-346FA plane to equip two full squadrons got here from the Presidency of Nigeria, that shared an infographic on social media with particulars in regards to the present and future ORBAT (Order of Battle) and important procurement packages of the Nigerian armed forces.


The multi-role model of the successful M-346 was first unveiled at Farnborough Worldwide Air Present in 2016. The plane integrates a variety of programs and sensors for tactical help and air protection: together with a tactical knowledge hyperlink, a self-defense system, reconnaissance and focusing on sensors and a big array of weapons. It may be used for shut air help missions, even in city areas, battlespace air interdiction for nationwide defence and tactical reconnaissance.

The plane is supplied with multi-mode Grifo-M-346 mechanical scanning radar, developed by Leonardo and optimised for the M-346FA. The M-346FA can also be geared up with a whole passive defence system (DASS – Defensive Aids Sub-System), built-in communication system and tactical datalink (TDL). The M-346FA can combine various kinds of armaments and exterior masses, together with air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions (comparable to IR, radar and/or laser/GPS- guided munitions), gun pods, and goal reconnaissance and designation pods, built-in with Helmet Mounted Shows (HMD). Among the many weapons built-in or examined for integration there are the IRIS-T and AIM-9 air-to-air missiles, a 12.7 mm gun pod, GBU-12 and GBU-49 laser-guided bombs, JDAMs (Joint Direct Assault Munitions), Brimstone and Marte ER, Small Diameter Bombs and RecceLite reconnaissance pod.

The M-346FA is already in service with the Turkmen Air Pressure. In 2020, the Italian Senate disclosed that Turkmenistan had positioned an order for 4 M-346FA and two M-346FT (Fighter Coach) plane. In Could 2021, we posted images of one of the jets in Turkmen shade scheme with no nationwide markings or identification performing check flights in Italy forward of supply. Video footage launched by Turkmenistan’s state media in August 2021, confirmed two M-346FA flying with 4 short-range air-to-air missiles together with exterior gasoline tanks, sporting numbers “01” and “02”.

David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, protecting aviation, protection, warfare, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Pressure, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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