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MB-339 (Aermacchi) UAEAF Al Fursan, United Arab Emirates 

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MB-339 (Aermacchi) UAEAF Al Fursan, United Arab Emirates

Historical Note:



In September 1972, Aermacchi was awarded a contract to study a replacement for the Italian Air Force's MB-326s, comparing seven all-new designs (given the designation MB-338) powered by various engines with an improved version of the MB-326, designated the MB-339. The MB-339 was considered to meet the Italian Air Forces requirements while being cheaper than the all-new designs which resulted in it being selected to replace both the MB-326 and the Fiat G.91T in Italian service.

The MB-339 is of conventional configuration and all-metal construction, and shares much of the 326's airframe. It has a low, un-swept wing with tip tanks and jet intakes in the roots, tricycle undercarriage, and accommodation for the student and instructor in tandem. The most significant revision was a redesign of the forward fuselage to raise the instructor's seat to allow visibility over and past the student pilot's head. The aircraft was fitted with a larger fin and powerplant for the initial versions was the same Rolls-Royce Viper 632-43, producing 4,000 lbf (17.8 kN), as fitted to the MB-326-K.

The first flight took place on 12 August 1976 and deliveries to the Italian Air Force commenced in 1979. Still in production in 2004 in an enhanced version with a much-modernised cockpit. Over 200 MB-339s have been built, with roughly half of them going to the Italian Air Force.

The Lockheed-Aermacchi MB-339 T-Bird II was a losing contender in the USA's Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) aircraft selection. Among the seven to enter, the Raytheon/Pilatus entry won, which became the T-6 Texan II.

According to an article posted on the Italian website 'Il Porto Franci', called 'Armi e finanziamenti nel corno d'Africa', Eritrea paid about $US 50 million for six MB-339 CEs in 1997. This is the original MB-339 with more advanced avionics for the ground attack role, RWR, uprated Viper 680-43 engine, and larger wingtip tanks. It is capable of carrying Sidewinder AAMs, AGM-65 Maverick AGMs, and laser-guided bombs. Unit price of the MB-339C would have to be somewhere around $US 8.3 million dollars in 1997.

Info: MB-339 (Aermacchi) UAEAF Al Fursan, United Arab Emirates

Product Videos

3 Aermacchi MB-339 taxiing & take off from Brindisi Airport (07:53)
© Three Aermacchi MB339 CD from 61° Stormo Galatina taxiing and take off at Brindisi Casale Airport. In the video there's the landing of Sikorsky S76C Tre Aermacchi MB339 CD del 61° Stormo Galatina rullaggio e decollo nell'Aeroporto di Brindisi Casale. Nel video c'è l'atterraggio dell Sikorsky S76C THIS VIDEO IS UNDER COPYRIGHT TO LEFTHIRTYSIX
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