Leonardo has delivered the first two M-345 jet trainer aircraft to the Italian Air Force, which to-date has ordered 18 units from a total requirement for up to 45 aircraft. The new type, designated T-345A by the Italian Air Force, will gradually replace the 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982.

The new M-345, designed to meet basic and basic-advanced training requirements, will complement the in-service M-346, which is used for advanced pilot training. Leonardo's integrated training system is developed around the M-345 platform. The system benefits from experience with, and technology developed for, the M-346, which includes a Live Virtual Constructive capability. This allows aircraft which are flying live training missions to incorporate simulated 'friend' or 'foe' elements into scenarios, allowing the pilot to be exposed to the full range of possible operational situations.

The M-345 is a high-performance aircraft which supports a pilot's transition from basic trainers to latest-generation fighters. The M-345 has also been chosen as the new aircraft of the Italian Air Force's acrobatic team, the "Frecce Tricolori".