Aermacchi MB.326 Advanced Trainer / Light Ground Attack Aircraft
The light attack Aermacchi MB.326 series was also made available in a popular twin-seat operational trainer.
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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.