The M-346FT (Fighter Trainer), the multi-role version of the M-346 advanced trainer, is characterised by its capability to shift very easily from trainer to an operational mission configuration.
The M-346FT variant integrates a series of weapon systems for tactical support and air defence, including the Radar Warning Receiver, self-defence systems and the HMD (Helmet Mounted Display).
The Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master is a military twin-engine transonic trainer aircraft. Originally co-developed with Yakovlev as the Yak/AEM-130, the partnership was dissolved in 2000 and Alenia Aermacchi (merged into Leonardo-Finmeccanica, since 2016) proceeded to separately develop the M-346 Master, while Yakolev continued work on the Yakovlev Yak-130. The first flight of the M-346 was performed in 2004. The type is currently operated by the air forces of Italy, Israel, Singapore, and Poland.
Alenia Aermacchi is to submit the M-346 for the United States Air Force’s T-X program to replace the aging Northrop T-38 Talon, rebranding the aircraft as the T-100 Integrated Training System. Alenia originally intended to be the prime contractor, anticipating moving the final assembly location from Italy to the United States if the bid succeeds. About 350 aircraft are expected to be ordered, further purchases could lead to over 1,000 aircraft being purchased overall. In January 2013, Alenia Aermacchi signed a letter of intent with General Dynamics C4 Systems, who intended to serve as the prime contractor for the T-X bid; however, General Dynamics announced their withdrawal in March 2015. On January 1, 2016, Alenia Aermacchi was absorbed into a new consolidated corporation titled: Leonardo-Finmeccanica. In February 2016, it was announced that Raytheon, who shall serve as the prime contractor, had teamed up with Leonardo-Finmeccanica to offer an advanced variant of the M-346 for the T-X program called the T-100.