Aermacchi MB 326
|Photo © Jaco du Plessis - Example static display only|
During the 1950's, before the introduction of the turboprop, many countries operated small jet trainers with a similar performance to their full-sized aircraft. Some nations started to develop aircraft like the Fouga Magister, the T-37, the Jet Provost, and the Aero Vodochody L-29. Italy, still recovering following the end of World War II, could not afford the development of a supersonic interceptor or bomber, and developed light fighters and trainers which proved to be a low cost solution.
The MB-326 was designed by Ermanno Bazzocchi at Macchi. Bazzocchi considered many configurations, but chose a single engine design. The airframe was a robust and light structure, metallic, simple, inexpensive and powered by an efficient engine, the Armstrong Siddeley Viper. This engine was designed as a short-life unit originally destined for target drones, but showed itself to be far more reliable. The airframe and engine combination led, in 1953, to the MB-326 Project.
The MB-326 had the capacity to carry external loads placed in eight points under the wings, each point with the capacity to carry rockets, bombs and other weapons. The version MB-326B was produced for Tunisia, Ghana, and civilian companies like Alitalia, the largest airline in Italy, that employed a version without armament (MB-326D). Australia was one of the largest countries that ordered the MB-326H. Macchi sold to Royal Australian Air Force and to the Royal Australian Navy, assembled in Italy or under license with the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation.
|Powerplant:||One Rolls Royce Viper 20 engine with 1547 kilo of power thrust|
|Wingspan:||35' 6 "|
|Height:||12' 2 "|
|Wing area:||208 sf|
|Empty weight:||5,907 lbs|
|Gross weight:||10,069 lbs|
|Maximum speed:||538 mph|
|Armament:||Two 7.76 miniguns placed in the fuselage in early versions, with 1890 lbs of external load. 3960 lbs of external load on latter versions.|
|Status:||Restored as a Static Display|