Military Factory logo

Alenia Aermacchi S-211

Italy (1984)
Picture of Alenia Aermacchi S-211 Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft

The Alenia Aermacchi S-211 advanced trainer was initially conceived of through a private venture endeavor by SIAI-Marchetti of Italy.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Alenia Aermacchi S-211 Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 8/17/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Sensing the growing need for light, jet-powered dual-role aircraft, the Italian concern of SIAI-Marchetti proposed a new aircraft through a self-funded, in-house venture designated as the "S.211". The primary target of this program would be its existing operators managing the propeller-driven SF.260 light trainers. Conventional by any regard, the S.211 would allow budget conscious air forces around the world to utilize a modern two-seat training platform that doubled as a light attack aircraft. Such developments were growing in popularity and typified by aircraft types of the period including the Spanish CASA C-101 and the joint French/German Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet.

Design work on the S.211 began in 1976 to which the project was unveiled publicly in 1977 at the Paris Air Show. Two prototypes were then ordered and the first one went airborne on April 10th, 1981. After a period of trials and evaluations, SIAI-Marchetti was able to net its first procurement order in 1983 through Singapore for ten aircraft. Formal introduction of the type occurred in 1984 with the Singapore Air Force. Production of the aircraft spanned from 1981 into 1994 to which the Philippine Air Force and, later, the Haitian Air Force, joined as operators. In January of 1997, Aermacchi acquired SIAI-Marchetti and production rights to the S.211 was inherited, the designation slightly altered to "S-211". Since the mid-1980s, there have been approximately fifty-eight total S-211 aircraft sold and most were locally assembles under license by the respective customer. Singapore procured 30 units to the Philippines 24. Haiti purchased just 4 examples.
The S.211/S-211 falls into a specially identified group of aircraft that are procured with the primary intention of training up-and-coming pilots on a jet-powered platform while offering strike capabilities as secondary. Such designs generally rely upon a basic airframe with modern equipment and access to basic ordnance options. The crew of two undoubtedly spreads the workload about and the jet-propulsion supplies the needed performance capabilities for the low-level strike role. Many manufactures have supplied trainer/light strike aircraft since the 1960s and this group continues to be an important part of modern world air forces - though the dual-role functionality perhaps proving more important to developing nations or those with restrictive procurement budgets.

Externally, the S-211/S.211 is a no-frills platform crewed by two personnel sitting in a tandem arrangement under a single-piece canopy (hinged to the right side). Both crew members sit in Martin-Baker ejection seats while the airframe exhibits very smooth and clean contours from the slim, pointed nose cap to the rear tapered empennage. The tail section features a single vertical tail fin and high-mounted tailplanes with the single engine exhaust port located at the base of the tail unit. The main wing assemblies are shoulder-mounted, allowing underwing ordnance the proper ground clearance. There is noticeable sweep along their leading edges only (less noticeable along the trailing edges). Power is served through a single turbofan installation being aspirated through two small intake openings to either side of the cockpit and exhausted through a single port at the rear. The undercarriage is fully-retractable and consists of a pair of single-wheeled main legs and a single-wheeled nose leg. Construction of the S-211 body is primarily of composites, this making up some 60% of the aircraft and providing for a lighter overall end-product.

Power for the S-211 is served through a single Pratt & Whitney JT15D-4C turbofan engine developing 2,500lbs of thrust. This supplies the airframe with a top speed of over 400 miles per hour. Range is listed at 1,000 miles with a service ceiling of 40,000 feet. Rate-of-climb is reported at 4,200 feet per minute.

In the strike role, the S-211 is cleared to carry several basic, externally-mounted munitions across four underwing hardpoints (though ordnance is limited to ground-attack classes). Up to 1,500lbs of stores can be carried aloft. Munition options include machine gun pods, rocket pods and conventional drop bombs. As the S-211 lacks any nose-mounted internal radar facility, it does not support air-to-air missile weaponry. There is also no standard internal cannon in the base design.

At one point, the S-211 became a possible contender for the United State's JPATS program (Joint Primary Aircraft Training System) which sought to procure a single-minded trainer aircraft for both the USAF and USN. The program began in the early 1990s and concluded in 1995 with the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II selected the winner. The Aermacchi S-211 submission was designated as the "S-211A" and was assisted through the proposal process by the American firm of Grumman/Northrop Grumman. Only two S-211A models were produced for the endeavor and these were refurbished and modified examples of a pair of ex-Haitian Air Force systems.

Aermacchi (now Alenia Aermacchi) attempted an S-211 modernization project in 2004 resulting in the new "M-311". As of 2013, the aircraft is still considered developmental and only two prototypes have been completed. The initial prototype recorded its first flight in June of 2005 and Chile signed on with Alenia Aermacchi to locally-produce the aircraft in Chile for interested South American customers. In May of 2008, Alenia Aermacchi joined with powerhouse Boeing to help market the M-311 worldwide. In 2012, the designation of the M-311 was changed to "M-345".

The Philippine Air Force is the sole operator of the S-211 aircraft today (2012) as Singapore and Haiti have both since given up operations with the type. Haitian S-211s numbered only four aircraft though these were eventually sold off to civilian buyers in the United States. As many as 20 ex-military S-221s have been operated by civilian parties in Australia (Singaporean AF S-211s were actually based in Australia due to fewer airspace restrictions). The Philippine Air Force currently manages a stable of just 5 active service S-211s out of its available 25 airframes.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (414mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Alenia Aermacchi S-211's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
58
58


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Alenia Aermacchi S-211 Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Italy
Year: 1984
Type: Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): SIAI-Marchetti / Alenia Aermacchi - Italy
Production: 58
Supported Mission Types
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
Structural
Crew: 2
Length: 30.54 ft (9.31 m)
Width: 27.66 ft (8.43 m)
Height: 12.47 ft (3.80 m)
Empty Weight: 4,079 lb (1,850 kg)
MTOW: 6,063 lb (2,750 kg)


Installed Power
1 x Pratt & Whitney JT15D-4C turbofan engine developing 2,500 lb of thrust.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 414 mph (667 kph; 360 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,038 mi (1,670 km; 902 nm)
Service Ceiling: 40,026 ft (12,200 m; 7.58 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 4,200 ft/min (1,280 m/min)


Armament
Variable - up to 1,500lb of external stores underwing to include gun pods, rocket pods and conventional drop ordnance.

Operators List
Australia; Haiti; Philippines; Singapore; United States

Series Model Variants
• S-211 - Initial Production Model Designation; 2 x prototypes completed; 58 examples produced under SIAI-Marchetti label.
• S-211A - Proposed variant for US JPATS program; 2 examples modified from ex-Haitian AF models.
• M-311 - Modernized, uprated variant; since redesignated to M-345; under Alenia-Aermacchi label.
• M-345 - Redesignation of M-311 from 2012 onwards.


Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircraft machine gun pod
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition