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Aermacchi MB.326 Advanced Trainer / Light Ground Attack Aircraft (1962)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 8/3/2012

The light attack Aermacchi MB.326 series was also made available in a popular twin-seat operational trainer.

The Aermacchi MB.326 series of aircraft has become one of the most successful blends of operational trainer and light attack capabilities. Developed during the Cold War in 1957, the Aermacchi-produced two-seat trainer was already being designed with frontline light strike duty in mind. As the trainer went into production and service, the results were impressive enough to warrant the development of the single seat K model.

The MB.326K (or MB-326K) was a single-seat, single-engine derivative of the twin seat trainer brand. The removal of the instructor's seating position at rear allowed for increased stowage for more avionics systems and more fuel stores. The additional of twin 30mm DEFA cannons was also introduced with the K model to compliment the already existing and impressive 6-hardpoint configuration.

Finding some success in the export market, the system was also produced under license by Atlas for South Africa. Equally effective as a trainer or light strike aircraft, the Aermacchi MB.326 series made a name for itself in either role. It was succeeded by the upgraded Aermacchi MB.339 series of aircraft.

Incidentaly, the "B" prefix in the designation is derived from its designer - Doctor Ing Ermano Bazzochi.

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Picture of Aermacchi MB.326
Pic of the Aermacchi MB.326
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Specifications for the
Aermacchi MB.326
Advanced Trainer / Light Ground Attack Aircraft


Focus Model: Aermacchi MB.326K
Country of Origin: Italy
Manufacturer: Aermacchi - Italy
Initial Year of Service: 1962
Production: 761


Crew: 1


Length: 35.01ft (10.67m)
Width: 35.60ft (10.85m)
Height: 12.20ft (3.72m)
Weight (Empty): 6,535lbs (2,964kg)
Weight (MTOW): 12,996lbs (5,895kg)


Powerplant: 1 x Rolls-Royce Viper 632-42 turbojet engine generating 4,000lbs of thrust.


Maximum Speed: 553mph (890kmh; 481kts)
Maximum Range: 677miles (1,090km)
Service Ceiling: 41,010ft (12,500m; 7.8miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 6,500 feet per minute (1,981m/min)


Hardpoints: 6
Armament Suite:
STANDARD:
2 x 30mm internal cannons

OPTIONAL:
Maximum external ordnance load of up to 4,000lbs of bombs, rockets and missiles. Mission-specific ordnance can include any of the following:

Drop Bombs
AS.12 wire-guided air-to-surface missiles
Matra R550 Magic air-to-air missiles
Unguided Rockets
Additional Cannon Pods
Reconnaissance Pods


Variants:
MB.326 - Base Series Production Model Designation


MB.326A - Armed Variant never ordered; six underwing hardpoints.

MB.326B - Tunisian Export Model Designation

MB.326D - Unarmed Variant purchased by Alitalia.

MB.326E - Viper 11-powered variant for Italian purchase.

MB.326F - Ghana Export Variant

MB.326G - Fitted with more powerful Viper 20 Mk.540 powerplant; internal strengthening; increased weapons load.

MB.326GC

MB.326H - Australian Export Variant produced in-country by CAC; retired from service in 2001.

MB.326K - Single-Seat Light Attack Aircraft; based on the MB.326K model with strengthened airframe and improved power from the Viper 20 powerplant; increased avionics equipment and fuel over the two-seat trainer variant; implementation of 2 x 30mm DEFA cannons.

MB.326KD - Dubai Export Model Designation

MB.326KB - Zaire Export Model Designation

MB.326KG - Ghana Export Model Designation

MB.326KM - South African Export Model Designation

MB.326KT - Tunisian Export Model Designation

Impala Mk 1 - Atlas-produced South African model.

Impala Mk 2 - Atlas-produced South African model.

MB.339 - Upgraded Successor of the MB.326 system series.

EMB-326 "Xavante" - Embraer license-built MB.326GC model.

MB.326L - Final two-seat variant production model.


Operators:
Italy; Argentina; Australia; Dubai; Ghana; South Africa; Tunisia; Zaire; Zambia