Azerbaijan declares intention for acquisition of 10 to 15 M-346 jets

Azerbaijan is to buy Leonardo M-346 Master trainer and light attack aircraft, the country's president announced on 20 February. According to the "declaration by agreement' made by Minister of Defense, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov and CEO of Italian Leonardo company, Alessandro Profumo, Azerbaijan wants to buy in between 10 to 15 M-346 jets.

Azerbaijan signs agreement for acquisition of 10 to 15 M 346 jets 925 001 The third prototype Leonardo M-346 Master combat trainer during a demonstration in Azerbaijan (Picture source: Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and Leonardo Executive Director Alessandro Profumo exchanged a 'declaration by agreement' between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Leonardo for the acquisition of "an integration system for M-346 aircraft", the website for the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, announced.

For the record, in May 2017, Leonardo demonstrated a third prototype M-346 in Azerbaijan, and the aircraft was examined by the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov.

The M-346 is an advanced jet trainer that comes fitted with nine hardpoints (four under each wing and one on the centreline for an optional cannon pod), the M-346 can carry a range of 'dumb' and 'smart' munitions, such as Mk 82/83/84 unguided bombs and GBU-12/16 and Opher Mk 82 guided bombs.

No details pertaining to a contract value or delivery timelines were disclosed.