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Aermacchi MB.339

Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

Aermacchi MB.339

Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft


The Aermacchi MB.339 series replaced the Aermacchi MB.326 and Fiat G.91T trainers and light strike aircraft.
National Flag Graphic
YEAR: 1978
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Aermacchi - Italy
OPERATORS: Australia; Argentina; Eritrea; Ghana; Italy; Malaysia; Nigeria; Peru; United Arab Emirates

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Aermacchi MB.339K model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 36.88 feet (11.24 meters)
WIDTH: 36.81 feet (11.22 meters)
HEIGHT: 13.09 feet (3.99 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 6,889 pounds (3,125 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 13,999 pounds (6,350 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Piaggio RR Viper 680-43 turbojet engine developing 4,450lb of thrust.
SPEED (MAX): 506 miles-per-hour (815 kilometers-per-hour; 440 knots)
RANGE: 231 miles (371 kilometers; 200 nautical miles)
CEILING: 46,719 feet (14,240 meters; 8.85 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 6,595 feet-per-minute (2,010 meters-per-minute)

2 x 30mm internal cannons

External hardpoints for mission-specific ordnance may include the following:

Conventional Drop Bombs
Unguided Rocket Pods
Cannon Pods
Matre anti-ship missiles
Magic air-to-air missiles
Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
Maverick air-to-ground missiles
Vinten Reconnaissance Pod
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition

Series Model Variants
• MB.339A - Base Two-Seat Model
• MB.339C - Improved MB.339 Light Attack Lead-In Functionality; advanced navigation and targeting capabilities; uprated powerplant; laser range finder in elongated nose cone; increased wing tip fuel tanks.
• MB.339CD - Powered by the Viper 632; digital cockpit with three LCD displays; HUD and HOTAS controls.
• MB.339CE - Eritrean Export Model based on the MB.339CD.
• MB.339FD - Export Production Model fitted with Viper 680 powerplant with MB.339CD improvements.
• MB.339K "Veltro 2" - Prototype Single-Seat Variant.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Aermacchi MB.339 Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 11/29/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Aermacchi MB.339 was the successor to the Aermacchi MB.326 in the advanced trainer and light strike role. This twin-seat trainer proved equally adept at its given roles and also went on to replace the aged Fiat G.91T trainer and close-support aircraft in service with the Italian Air Force. As with the MB.326, the newer MB.339 saw moderate export success around the globe with Australia, Argentina, Eritrea, Ghana, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru and the UAE. After recording its first flight as a prototype (two completed as "MB.339X") on August 12th, 1976, the MB.339 was formally introduced in 1979 with production ongoing as of this writing (2012). At least 213 have been produced to date.

Compared to the MB.326 before it, the MB.339 featured an all-new redesigned nose assembly. The twin-seat arrangement was also modified to extend the view of the rear-seat instructor's/co-pilot's position while the single Piaggio (Rolls-Royce) Viper Mk 621 turbojet powerplant increased performance. Wingtip tanks were enlarged but were more or less retained from the earlier MB.326 models as were the 6 x external underwing hardpoints and 2 x DEFA 30mm internal cannons.

Overall design was highly conventional for an aircraft of this class. This included a short nose cone, low-set straight wing assemblies and a traditional single-fin rudder and applicable tailplanes. The undercarriage was of the three-wheeled tricycle arrangement, fully retractable. An in-flight refueling probe was offset to the right side of the cockpit to help extend the MB.339's operational range to an extent.

The MB.339A model series was the most numerous production model (107 examples across three production batches) while the "C" model added further improvements including an uprated engine, onboard laser rangefinder (in the nose) and provision for guided/homing missile firing. The "CD" model benefitted more with HOTAS (Hands on Throttle and Stick), HUDs (Head-Up Display) and three LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens. The MB.339K and MB.339 T-Bird II were proposed variants - the former intended as a single-seat attack plane and the latter as a Lockheed proposal to the US JPATS competition.

The MB.339 has since proven an effective trainer and light strike aircraft. Eritrea has utilized its MB.339s in anger against neighboring Ethiopia in a February 1999 attack on an Ethiopian Army fuel depot at Adigrat.

Argentina, Malaysia, New Zealand and the UAE no longer operate their MB.339s.


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
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (506mph).

Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Aermacchi MB.339K's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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 (213)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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