Turkmenistan Presumed to be M-346 Customer

Aermacchi M-346 jet trainer aircraft.

The Turkmen Air Force is believed to have placed an order for the M-346 jet trainer aircraft.

Earlier this month, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported to the Senate on details of the export of armaments in 2019. Turkmenistan featured prominently in the report, having become the second-largest export customer for the year, after Egypt. Ashgabat purchased €446.1 million of unspecified Italian military products in 2019.

The MFA report did not break down the type of equipment Turkmenistan ordered, but it did indicate that unnamed customers had purchased six M-346 jet trainers and eight AW139 helicopters. BMPD, the unofficial blog of the Russian think tank Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, concluded it is likely Turkmenistan is the unnamed customer for the aircraft.

The Turkmen government only rarely comments on armament purchases and did not make a statement concerning the AW139 or the M-346.

Turkmenistan’s border guard already operates some AW139s. The country’s government has been known to be interested in the M-346. In 2018, one of the aircraft was on display in Turkmenistan –  probably as part of a promotional tour – and the Turkmen President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, was photographed sitting in the cockpit.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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