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 declarations made by the manufacturer - this is not the only type of payload that could be carried by the Italian jet.
This year, master was photographed, inter alia, with the IRIS-T missiles, however, as the company informs, these weapons were mounted on the jet solely for training purposes, without any option of launching them by the crew. M-346 LCA light combat jet is seen as a replacement of the Polish Su-22. In Italy, Master could potentially take over the tasks executed by the 1980s-1990s AMX light assault aircraft.
As it is stressed by Finmeccanica, due to the fact that Master may be integrated with the IRIS-T or Sidewinder missiles, the jet may be viewed as a cheaper interceptor, especially for the purpose of executing the sorties, in case of which there is no need to use the heavier, and more expensive jet fighters, such as the F-16. Here, we may exemplify the above with airspace violations made by small private propeller-driven aircraft, helicopters or drones.
M-346 Master has been selected to become a new training aircraft for he Air Force. Poland - in total - ordered 8 examples of M-346A jets. Next 4 Masters may be acquired as an option, in the future. The deliveries are scheduled to start in 2016.
As it is stated by the representatives of the manufacturer, Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin could potentially become one of the most important advanced pilot’s training centres in Europe. The services rendered by the Dęblin facility could be used by air forces of numerous countries.