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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.

 Updated: 6/19/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

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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Aermacchi MB.326K Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1962
Type: Advanced Trainer / Light Ground Attack Aircraft
National Origin: Italy
Manufacturer(s): Aermacchi - Italy
Production Total: 761

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 35.01 feet (10.67 meters)
Overall Width: 35.60 feet (10.85 meters)
Overall Height: 12.20 feet (3.72 meters)

Weight (Empty): 6,535 lb (2,964 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 12,996 lb (5,895 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 1 x Rolls-Royce Viper 632-42 turbojet engine developing 4,000lb of thrust.

Maximum Speed: 553 mph (890 kph; 481 knots)
Maximum Range: 677 miles (1,090 km)
Service Ceiling: 41,010 feet (12,500 meters; 7.77 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 6,500 feet-per-minute (1,981 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 30mm internal cannons

Maximum external ordnance load of up to 4,000lb 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

Global Operators / Customers

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

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

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.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.