Italy Leonardo M 346LFFA Tiziano Capenti 640M346 LFFA spotted in a new livery

On 5 November 2021, Leonardo M346 LFFA (Light Family Fighter Attack) CPX625 made its first flight in a new attractive camouflage livery with different tones of grey and brown.

CPX625 is the first prototype in this version and has already made, although in primer, its first flight ever from Leonardo's factory field Venegono (VA) on 13 July 2020. The LFFA is a new version of the advanced Aermacchi (now Leonardo) M346 twin-engine trainer. It is an evolution of the dual role FT (Fighter Trainer) and FA (Fighter Attack) version, designed to meet air forces's growing and diversified operational requirements.

The M346 LFFA variant is designed to retain the full dual role capability of the basic M346 AJT (Advanced Jet Trainer) version, already in service with the air forces of Italy, Israel, Poland and Singapore, while incorporating also some new features like a tactical data link, Grifo-346 mechanical scan multi-mode radar, IFF system (Identification Friend or Foe), Defensive Aid Sub System (DASS) and a stronger airframe. It also has two additional wing tip hardpoints (seven hardpoints in total) able to carry two air-to-air missiles, maintaining at the same time the full dual role capability and the entire extremely advanced Integrated Training System.

This new version is suitable for a number of mission types and the external stores that can be carried amounts to more than two tons in addition to the 138 gallons in each auxiliary fuel tank of the basic AJT version. With its new and upgraded avionics and new radar it can fly strike missions, Homeland Security and Air Policing missions, support missions for complex Personnel Recovery/Combat Search And Rescue operations and reconnaissance missions.

Photo by Tiziano Capenti/AP2L

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