The historic landing of the first two examples (out of 8 ordered) of the M-346 Master aircraft ordered by Poland took place on 14th November, at 4.15 PM. The arriving jets, Reg. No. 7702 and 7703, were piloted by test pilots of the Leonardo Aircraft Company and of instructors of the 4th Training Aviation Wing – Lt. Col. Konrad Madej and Major Tomasz Czerwinski. During the final stage of flight, the new jets were accompanied by four TS-11 Iskra trainers, soon to be replaced by the M-346.
This event, even though it was spectacular in its nature, is only a start of the process, within which the obsolete TS-11 Iskra jets are going to be replaced. Soon, a procedure of verifying the specification compliance, pertaining to the newly acquired aircraft, is going to be initiated. Only after all of the requirements are confirmed to be met, the jets would formally become a part of the inventory flown by the Polish Air Force. The aircraft will be known under the name of “Bielik”.
M346 Master jet taking off from the Venegono airfield in Italy:
Along with the new jets, an expansive training system is also going to be delivered to the Dęblin “School of Eaglets”, comprising of simulators and extra training hardware. The whole advanced jet training system contract, including 8 airframes with an option of procuring another four jets, is said to have a value of PLN 1.2 billion. Subsequent airframes will be delivered in pairs, most probably in February, May and October 2017.