Aermacchi M. B. 326 and 339
M. B.326 and 326 GB and GC (AT-26 Xavante), 326K (Atlas Impala), 326L and M. B.339
Origin: Aeronautics Macchi SpA (Aermacchi): licence-production in Australia. Brazil and S Africa.
Type: Two-seat basic trainer and light attack aircraft: (326K) single-seat trainer/attack: (339) two-seat all-through trainer.
Engine: One Rolls-Royce Viper single-shaft turbojet: (original production versions) 2,5001b (1134kg) thrust Viper 11: (GB, GC, H and M) 3,4101b (1547kg) Viper 20 Mk 540: (K, L and 339) 4,000lb (1814kg) R-R/Fiat Viper 632-43.
Dimensions: Span (over tip tanks) 35ft 7in (10-85m); length 34ft 11 in (10-64m): height 12ft 2£in (372m).
Weights: Empty (G trainer) 5,920lb (2685kg): (G attack) 5,640lb (2558kg): (K) 6.240lb (2830kg): maximum loaded (G trainer) 10,0901b (4577kg): (G attack) 11,5001b (5217kg): (K and 339) 12,5001b (5670kg). Performance: Maximum speed (G clean) 539mph (867km/h): (K clean) 553mph (890km/h): (339) 560mph (901 km/h): initial climb (G clean) 6,050ft (1844m)/min: (G attack at max wt) 3,100ft (945m)/min: (K clean and 339) 6,500ft (1980m)/min: service ceiling (G trainer clean) 47,000ft (14,325m): (G attack, max wt) 35,000ft (10,700m): range on internal fuel (G trainer) 1,1 50 miles (1 850km): (K with max weapons) about 1 60 miles (260km).
Armament: Six underwing pylons for load of up to 4,000lb (1814kg) including bombs, rockets, tanks, missiles, reconnaissance pods or gun pods: some versions have single 7-62mm or similar gun (or Minigun) in fuselage: 326K (Impala) has two 30mm DEFA 553 cannon in fuselage, each with 125 rounds. (339) two 30mm DEFA cannon can be carried in wing – mounted slipper pods: other options as 326.
History: First flight 10 December 1957: (production 326) 5 October 1 960: (K, prototype) 22 August 1970: (339) 12 August 1976.
Users: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia (X), Brazil (X), Dubai, Ghana, Italy, S Africa, Togo (X), Tunisia, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia (Atlas).
Development: The most successful Italian military aircraft programme in history, the 326 was designed by a team led by Ermanno Bazzocchi and was put into production as a trainer for the Regia Aeronautica. which received 90. In addition the South African AF has over 1 50 К models, built by Atlas Aircraft with locally built engines, and expects to build over 200, while other big customers include Australia (114, 85 built by CAC in Melbourne), Brazil (122 locally built Xavantes) and many emergent nations. The latest sub-types are the 326K with the most powerful Viper, the 326L with two seats but К attack capability, the M uncompromised dual trainer and the M. B, 339 with redesigned airframe for all-through training, with raised instructor seat under a sloping canopy. Despite having a largely redesigned structure the 339 is hoped (optimistically) to be priced at only £850,000.
Below left: A formation of South African Air Force equipment, a Mirage IlfCZ and DZ with an Impala in the foreground.
Below: By 1980 more than 160 AT-26 Xavantes had been assembled in Brazil by EMBRAER, with American avionics and extra weapons.