The Commander of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Júnior, performed a flight in an M-346 Master aircraft, of the Italian Air Force. The aircraft from Italian manufacturer Leonardo is intended for light attack missions and advanced training.
The evaluated M-346 belongs to the 61st Stormo of the Italian Air Force, at Lecce Air Base. The group is responsible for training Italian military pilots in the transition to jet aircraft.
According to Infodefensa, the Commander flew in the aircraft at the invitation of the manufacturer. On his Twitter account, Baptista Junior only mentioned that it was an “opportunity to improve Brazilian pilots and to strengthen even more relations with Italy”.
Meetings with the FAB in 2020
Baptista Júnior was in Italy to participate in the 77th anniversary of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force’s campaign in Italian territory during World War II.
Leonardo participated in meetings with members of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense in December 2020 that were attended by other foreign arms manufacturers, according to local media.
The Folha agency said at the time that the Italian company would have offered the M-346 and also the M-345, also a training aircraft, to the Air Force.
Brazil has not had a jet trainer since the retirement of the AT-26 Xavante, a licensed variant of the MB-326, from the former Aermacchi (now part of Leonardo) and which was produced by Embraer.