Aermacchi MB-326

TYPE: Two seat basic and advanced trainer

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Italy

POWERPLANT: MB-326G - One 15.3kN (341 Olb) Rolls-Royce Viper 11 turbojet.

PERFORMANCE: MB-326G - Max speed 867km/h (468kt), max cruising speed 797km/h (430kt). Max initial rate of climb 6050ft/min. Service ceiling 47,000ft. Range with internal and tip tanks 1850km (1000nm), range with underwing tanks 2445km (1320nm). Combat radius (hi-lohi) with 770kg (1695lb) payload 650km (350nm).

WEIGHTS: MB-326G - Basic operating empty 2685kg (6920lb), max takeoff clean 4577kg (10,090lb), max takeoff armed 5215kg (11,500lb).

DIMENSIONS: Wing span over tip tanks 10.85m (35ft 7in), length 10.67m (35ft Oin), height 3.72m (12ft 3in). Wing area 19.4m2 (208.3sq ft).

ACCOMMODATION: Seating for two in tandem.

ARMAMENT: MB-326G - Provision for up to 1815kg (4000lb) of armaments, including bombs, rockets and gun pods on six underwing pylons.

OPERATORS: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Dubai, Ghana, Italy, Paraguay, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, Zaire, Zambia.

HISTORY: Macchi initiated design of this classic two seat jet trainer in 1954 against an Italian Air Force requirement.

The 326 was designed by Dr-lng Ermano Bazzochi (responsible for the B in the MB prefix) and a prototype flew for the first time on December 10 1957. The prototype MB-326 was powered by a 7.8kN (1750lb) thrust Bristol-Siddeley (later Rolls-Royce) Viper 8 turbojet and the aircraft was of the same basic configuration of almost every two seat jet trainer to follow it, with a low, straight wing, a single jet engine, tandem seating and pleasant handling characteristics.

Flight testing of the prototype revealed an aircraft that was highly suited to its intended role, displaying viceless flying characteristics and relatively snappy performance. The aircraft impressed the Italian Air Force which ordered the type into production, with the first examples arriving on strength in 1962.

The Italian Air Force took delivery of 100 basic, 11.1KN (2500lb) Viper 11 powered MB-326s (including 15 preproduction aircraft), and was offered the armed MB-326A with six underwing hardpoints, but did not order. Similar armed versions were built for other nations though, including Ghana (MB-326F) and Tunisia (MB-326B), while the Italian airline Alitalia took delivery of four unarmed MB-326Ds. Significant orders for the basic Viper 11 model meanwhile came from South Africa and Australia, the former taking delivery of 191, most of which were assembled locally by Atlas as Impala Mk 1s; the latter 97 MB-326HS, the majority of which were built locally by CAC.

A more powerful and strengthened development with improved weapons payload was the successful MB-326G. Powered by a 15.2kN (3140lb) Viper 20 Mk.540 engine, examples were delivered to Argentina, Zaire and Zambia, while six similar but Viper 11 powered MB 326Es were delivered to Italy. Embraer meanwhile licence built MB-326G versions as Xavantes, delivered to Brazil, Paraguay and Togo.

The final two seater was the MB-326L, which included features introduced on the single seat MB-326K, described separately. Total MB-326 production was 761.

See also Aermacchi MB-326K

 

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