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Enhancing Lethality: Leonardo to Equip M-346FA Light Combat Aircraft with Nexter’s 20mm Cannon Pod

Leonardo will integrate Nexter’s 20mm cannon pod onto M-346FA (Fighter Attack) aircraft, which is the “light combat” version of the M-346 advanced trainer.


“After a successful feasibility study, Leonardo and Nexter, a company of KNDS, have decided to pursue a joint development effort by integrating a new 20mm cannon pod to the M-346FA,” Leonardo confirmed in a tweet on June 22.

The decision was taken after a successful feasibility study which demonstrated the capability of adding a Link & Case Recovery (LCR) system to the M-346 FA.

A 20 mm cannon offers better range and precision compared to 12.7 / .50 caliber. The 20M621 weapon solution, easy to integrate, operate and maintain, is a NATO caliber ITAR free solution designed for air application. As others weapons and systems developed and produced by Nexter for air domain, it is light and offers effectiveness and performance.

The M-346FA offers multi-role capabilities including close air support missions, even in urban areas, battlespace air interdiction for national defense and tactical reconnaissance. The aircraft is equipped with a modern multi-mode radar.

The M-346FA is protected by a complete passive defence system (DASS – Defensive Aids Sub-System), while the integrated communication system and tactical datalink (TDL), which may also be integrated in a version compliant with NATO requirements. It can integrate different types of armaments and external loads, including air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions (such as IR, radar and/or laser/GPS- guided munitions), gun pods, and target reconnaissance and designation pods, integrated with Helmet Mounted Displays (HMD).

The integrated on-board tactical training simulation system – Embedded Tactical Training System (ETTS) – can also be used in advanced and pre-operational training, offering a complete spectrum of simulated inflight training operations in conjunction with the Integrated Training System (ITS) of the M-346, which has Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) functions. The M-346FA’s ability to refuel in flight enables it to perform long-range missions requiring greater autonomy and a high degree of endurance.