SHAH ALAM: Tebuan II. It appears that Leonardo has named its M-345 jet trainer – as the Tutor II specifically for Canada. The naming is an homage for the Canadair CT-114/CL-41 Tutor which served with as the primary jet trainer of the the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) from the 1960s to 2000.
Around two dozen Tutors remained in service with the RCAF air demonstration team, the Snowbirds, though only around 11 airframes are used for flight operations. A member of the team was killed in a crash involving one of the Tutors in May, this year.
Apart from its primary role as a trainer, Leonardo says the M-345 is also suited for operational roles, with the capability to employ weapons like IR air-to-air missiles, gun pod, rockets and 500 lb class bombs. This is basically the same type of weapons employed by the BAE Systems Hawks in service with RMAF.
As most of you are aware, RMAF operated around 20 ground attack variant of the Tutors – locally known as the Tebuan – from 1967 to 1986. The aircraft was used operationally during the communist insurgency and as a basic jet trainer until they were withdrawn from service.
The Tebuan was RMAF first fast jet until they were supplemented by the Avon Sabres in early 1970s, which were gifted from the Australia. Both aircraft had performed admirably well.
It must be noted that Leonardo has offered the M-346 FA for RMAF’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) requirement. The M-346 Master was originally conceived as a jet trainer but the FA version is the light attack variant of the type.
Apart from the LCA, RMAF is also looking to recapitalise its primary jet trainer to replace the MB-339CM, which was manufactured by Aermacchi which folded into Leonardo during the last stage of Italian defence industry consolidation in mid-2000.
I have no idea whether Leonardo is looking to get the M-345 for the primary jet trainer for RMAF as well. But I think the M-346 is too highly specced – for the RMAF at least – as a primary jet trainer while the FA version is under-developed to meet the LCA requirement.
Having the same type to fill both requirements will helped in training and maintenance though I still prefer a single engine aircraft for both.
— Malaysian DefenceIf you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment