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Greece receives first M-346 training aircraft from Israel

Photo: Elbit Systems

Greek and Israeli officials joined forces at the International Pilot Training Center in Kalamata to celebrate the arrival of the inaugural pair of M-346 training aircraft, May 17.

M-346, crafted by Italian defense technology company Leonardo, is a twin-engine aircraft with digital flight controls, fly-by-wire technology, and an interface with Head-Up Displays (HUD). The aircraft are expected to fly thousands of hours per year.

M-346 is equipped with Elbit Systems’ integrated virtual avionics that simulates combat and flight scenarios and will be used for preparing and familiarizing the Air Force’s next generation of Icari pilots.

In partnership with the Hellenic and Israeli defense ministries, Elbit Systems is tasked with establishing an International Flight Training Center at the 120 Αir Τraining Wing Kalamata, as part of a government-to-government agreement that includes the delivery of 10 M-346 aircraft to the Hellenic Air Force.

Since the launch of the International Flight Training Center in 2021, the project is ahead of schedule.

The first training building has been completed and within the first half of 2023, the flight simulators as well as ground and fleet control and communication systems are expected to be installed.

“The new International Flight Training Center is the result of many efforts by the Greek State, the Ministry of National Defense, in order to achieve the best possible solution for the training of new pilots of the Greek Air Force,” said the Greek Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos.

“The Israeli side and Elbit Systems offered the most adaptable and understandable approach in the field of flight training. Our ambition is that the International Flight Training Center will provide basic, advanced and operational flight training to all airmen and over a period of 22 years using T-6 and M-346 aircraft,” he added.

“The International Flight Training Center at 120 ATW Kalamata will offer our pilots and the pilots of our allies, partners and friends theoretical and in-flight training that will enable their smooth transition to their combat wings. This project effectively underlines the excellent cooperation between Greece, Israel, and Italy, who share the same vision for peace, security and stability,” said the Chief of the General Staff of the National Defense, General Konstantinos Floros.