MB-326H



The Aircraft On Display

The Macchi in the Museum was previously based at Pearce, with No. 25 Squadron. It was originally numbered A7-066, but was repainted as A7-025, the aircraft of the squadron's commanding officer from 1997-1998, Wing Comander Graham Rowe.

When plans were started to replace the Macchi as the RAAF's jet trainer, the Museum asked for a donation of one for display, and the aircraft was delivered on June 15, 2002. For a more detailed account, see the link at the bottom of this page.

Type / History

Type Two-seat basic trainer
Manufacturer Aermacchi
Designer Ermanno Bazzocchi
Maiden Flight December 10, 1957
Introduced Italian Air Force, 1961
RAAF, 1967
Retired RAAF, 2001
Primary users Italian, Brazilian, Australian and South African air
forces all operated about 100 or more each

The MB-326 was developed to satisfy an AMI (Italian Air Force) requirement, winning a contest against the Fiat G-80 to become their standard jet trainer. From the outset, it was designed to be simple, light and robust, the prototype achieving fair performance from its Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet, initially of only 1,750 lb thrust.

The aircraft set some class records after its introduction, initially an altitude record of 15,489 m in August 1961, followed by other altitude and speed records in 1966.

The RAAF version was the MB-326H, essentially an Italian MB-326G with upgraded avionics. Only 12 were fully built by Aermacchi, another 18 delivered as kits and a further 67 built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. While apparently a popular aircraft with its pilots, the lifetime of the MB-326 in the RAAF was said to have been shortened by wing fatigue problems. It was replaced by the Pilatus PC-9 in 2001, but after about 34 years of continuous service, "shortened" seems rather a harsh judgement.

General Characteristics

General characteristics

Length: 10.65 m (34 ft 11 in)
Height: 3.72 m (12 ft 2½ in)
Wingspan 10.56 m (34 ft 8 in)
Powerplant: Bristol Siddeley / Rolls Royce Viper Mk.11 turbojet,
11.1 kN (2,500 lbf)
Weight: Empty 2,237 kg (4,930 lb),
maximum loaded 3,765 kg (8,300 lb)


Performance

Maximum speed: 806 km/h (436 knots, 501 mph)
at 4,575m (15,000 ft)
Range: 1,665 km (900 nautical mile, 1,035 miles)
Service ceiling: 12,500 m (41,000 ft)


Armament

Guns: Provision for 2 × 12.7 mm Browning
machine guns in underwing pods
Bomb load: Up to 2000 lb (900 kg)