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Leonardo (SIAI-Marchetti) SF.260

Basic Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

Italy | 1966

"Production of the SF.260 emerged under SIAI-Marchetti of Italy in 1964 and continues today under Leonardo SpA."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/09/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The SIAI-Marchetti (now Leonardo) SF.260 is a basic trainer / light attack platform from Italy. The aircraft was designed in the early 1960s by one Stelio Frati with the purpose of producing a lightweight aerobatic platform. A first-flight was recorded on July 15th, 1964 and the type achieved certification in April of 1966. The product and its rights were subsequently purchased by SIAI-Marchetti and eventually made its way into the inventories of many air services of the world including the Italian Air Force. With production on-going since 1964, the series has reached totals in excess of 870 units.

The original prototypes were built under the Aviamilano brand label and encompassed the F.250 and F.260. The former carried a Lycoming O-540-AID engine of 250 horsepower and flew until lost in a crash in Genoa in November of 1965. The latter was powered by a Lycoming O-540-E4A5 engine.

Under SIAI-Marchetti ownership, the line became with the first production version, the SF.260, and this followed the form and function of the original F.260 prototype. Then arrived the SF-260A which saw limited production. The military flight trainer form became the SF.260M and featured reinforced structural components for the rigors of military service. The Italian Air Force adopted this model as the SF.260AM and acquired thirty-three of the type. The same version was exported to Libya as the SF.260ML and 240 were delivered.

The SF.260W "Warrior" became another military model, this one cleared for ordnance-carrying and given hardpoints for the light strike role.

The SF.260SW "Sea Warrior", as its name implies, was a single example developed as a civilian market maritime patroller mainly for service over coastal areas (fisheries industry).

Another civilian market form was the SF.260B appearing in 1974 and bringing with it the modifications placed on the SF.260M model. Its improved variant became the SF.260C of 1977. In 1980 arrived the SF.260TP which carried an Allison 250-B17D turboprop engine which enhanced performance and capabilities. This was based on the SF.260C framework.

In 1985, the SF.260D model was introduced and was essentially the C-model with an uprated engine and other improvements. This was followed by the uprated SF.260E which was a militarized form intended to secure military market orders in the training role. It competed, and failed, in a USAF program. The SF.260F introduced fuel-injection and the SF.260EA, numbered thirty aircraft, was adopted by the Italian Air Force as a modernized SF.260 trainer. The current production model is the SF-260 (note dash) and appeared under the Alenia Aermacchi brand label until the rebranding as Leonardo.

The SF.260 went on to find considerable success on a global scale with operators from Belgium and Burkina Faso to Zambia and Zimbabwe. A small portion of its production total has been used in the civilian sphere.

The makeup of the SF.260 is conventional as aerobatic trainers go. The single engine is fitted to the nose section with the cockpit directly aft. A large, lightly-framed canopy is used to offer optimal vision. The fuselage is sleek and tight around the underlying framework. it tapers at the tail to which a large single vertical fin is sat and low-mounted horizontal planes are fitted. The wing mainplanes are seated at midships and a retractable, wheeled tricycle undercarriage is used for ground-running. One passenger can be seated along with the pilot in the cockpit. Empty weight is 1,500lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 2,865lb. Dimensions include an overall length of 23 feet, a wingspan of 27 feet and a height of 8.5 feet.

Performance specifications include a 275 mile-per-hour maximum speed, a cruising speed of 205 mph and a range out to 1,275 miles. Its service ceiling is 19,000 feet and rate-of-climb is listed at 1,800 feet-per-minute.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 Basic Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft.
1 x Lycoming O-540-E4A5 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 260 horsepower.
273 mph
440 kph | 238 kts
Max Speed
19,029 ft
5,800 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
1,274 miles
2,050 km | 1,107 nm
Operational Range
1,790 ft/min
546 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 Basic Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft.
23.3 ft
7.10 m
O/A Length
27.4 ft
(8.35 m)
O/A Width
7.9 ft
(2.40 m)
O/A Height
1,687 lb
(765 kg)
Empty Weight
2,646 lb
(1,200 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Leonardo (SIAI-Marchetti) SF.260 Basic Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft .
Up to 660lb of conventional drop stores, gun pods and rockets across two underwing (one per wing) hardpoints.
Notable series variants as part of the Leonardo (SIAI-Marchetti) SF.260 family line.
SF.260 - Base Series Designation based on F.260 prototype.
F.250 - Original prototype
F.260 - Secondary prototype
SF.260A - Initial production model; limited manufacture.
SF.260M - Military model; reinforced fuselage and undercarriage.
SF.260AM - Italian Air Force designation; 33 examples.
SF.260ML - Libyan Air Force designation; 240 examples.
SF.260W "Warrior" - Armed military model; underwing hardpoints fitted.
SF.260SW "Sea Warrior" - Civilian market maritime coastal patroller.
SF.260B - Model of 1974; civilian market model based on SF.260M.
SF.260C - Model of 1977; improved SF.206B.
SF.260TP - Model of 1980; fitted with Allison 250-B17D turboprop engine; based on SF.260C model.
SF.260D - Model of 1985; SF.260C model with more powerful engine fit.
SF.260E - Military market form; SF.260D with more powerful engine.
SF.260F - Fuel-injected engine introduced
SF.260EA - Italian Air Force model; 30 examples.
SF-260 - Revised designation for modern / current Alenia Aermacchi / Leonardo production.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Leonardo (SIAI-Marchetti) SF.260. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 870 Units

Contractor(s): SIAI-Marchetti / Aermacchi / Leonardo SpA - Italy
National flag of Belgium National flag of Bolivia National flag of Chad National flag of Ethiopia National flag of Indonesia National flag of Ireland National flag of Italy National flag of Libya National flag of Mexico National flag of Morocco National flag of Nicaragua National flag of the Philippines National flag of Singapore National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Somalia National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of Tunisia National flag of Uganda National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of Uruguay National flag of Venezuela National flag of Zaire National flag of Zambia National flag of Zimbabwe

[ Belgium; Bolivia; Brunei; Burkina Faso; Burma; Burundi; Chad; Comoros; Ethiopia; Haiti; Indonesia; Ireland; Italy; Libya; Mauritania; Mexico; Morocco; Nicaragua; Philippines; Rhodesia; Singapore; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; Uruguay; Venezuela; Zaire; Zambia; Zimbabwe ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (273mph).

Graph Average of 225 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Leonardo (SIAI-Marchetti) SF.260
Image from the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery database; Philippine Air Force SF-260 shown.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Leonardo (SIAI-Marchetti) SF.260 Basic Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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