In Israel at the Israel Air Force the 184th Flight Course is coming to an end.
On Thursday, June 23rd, in Hazerim AFB, thirty-six cadets, among them three women, will finish their training after three meaningful and challenging years and become full-fledged aircrews.
The Israeli Air Force operates one of the largest fleets of advanced fighter aircraft in the world, with more than 300 fixed-wing planes comprising F-15s, F-16s and, its newest addition, the F-35.
In 2012, after ordering its F-35s, the air force recognized that it needed to replace its aging A-4 Skyhawk training aircraft with a new advanced high-performance trainer that would meet its modern needs.
The first Leonardo M-346 was delivered to the Israeli Air Force in 2014. One of the first instructors to fly the aircraft was Brig. Gen. (Res.) Avi Maor, a 40-year veteran who had previously flown fighters including the F-4, F-15 and F-16. Maor, who had previously been instructing in the A-4 Skyhawk, says that he immediately noticed the difference. “If you look at the performance and the way you fly, it’s a totally new airplane. You can teach your student everything. You don’t have restrictions because of the aircraft.”
After training in the Leonardo M-346, young pilots go straight into the most advanced fighter aircraft. And, says Maor, it is very easy to make the transition. “The big advantage with the M-346 is that you can fly all missions, operational missions,” he said. “In modern fighters, you face problems of G-LOC because you fly 9G and you have to teach young pilots how to deal with this.
“In this aircraft you can have high G, but you can play with it. You can start with low G and then switch to high G, so you can train the pilot as you want. “It’s very easy to make the transition from the M-346 to a real jet fighter because it’s very similar to the fighters. You learn how to fight and then do the transition to the real fighter. You don’t need to learn how to fight again with the real fighter, so you save a lot of hours.”
At the Israeli Air Force, the M-346, called Lavi, is used for the training of pilots and WSOs through its extraordinary abilities.