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CA-30 Macchi MB326H

In the 1960s the RAAF were looking for a replacement for their Vampires and Winjeels in an attempt to establish an all-jet form of pilot training. Having evaluated jets including the BAC Jet Provost, Canadair Tutor, Fuji T-1 and SAAB 105, the Macchi MB-326 was selected in August 1965.

The initial order was for 75 aircraft for the RAAF, which was later increased to 87, with a further 10 aircraft added for the Royal Australian Navy. Like many aircraft selected by the RAAF during this time, these were produced in conjunction with Australian industry. In the case of the Macchi, the first 20 were assembled from predominantly Italian components, with the remaining 77 having a much higher Australian content. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) was the primary contractor for the Macchi, as well as being responsible for the local manufacture of the aircraft's power plant, the Rolls Royce Viper. The Macchi received the CAC designation CA-30.

The RAAF's first Macchi flew in Italy during April 1967 and was then shipped to Australia and handed over by CAC in October 1968. Australian production then continued until the last aircraft was delivered in September 1972.

The RAAF's philosophy of all-jet pilot training only lasted for two courses before reverting back to piston-then-jet training. From 1989 the Pilatus PC-9 replaced the venerable Macchi in the area of advanced pilot training. The remaining Macchis were then transferred to the lead-in-fighter role, serving with Nos 25, 76 and 79 Squadrons in that role until replaced by the BAE Hawk 127 in 2000. Australians best know the RAAF's Macchis as the mount of the RAAF's aerobatic team, the Roulettes, between 1970 and 1989.

The Aermacchi MB-326 has served with the following RAAF units:

  • No 25 Squadron, RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia
  • No 76 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales
  • No 77 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales
  • No 79 Squadron, RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia
  • No 2 Operational Conversion Unit, RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales
  • No 5 Operational Training Unit, RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales
  • No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia
  • Central Flying School, RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria

DESCRIPTION Two-seat basic and advanced trainer
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Italy; built under licence in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation
NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT DELIVERED 87 (Royal Australian Navy received an additional 10)
POWER PLANT One 1134 kg (2500 lbs) thrust Rolls-Royce Viper turbojet.
Wing span 10.57 m (34 ft 8 in);
Length 10.67 m (35 ft 0 in);
Height 3.71 m (12 ft 2 in).
Empty 2236 kg (4930 lb);
loaded 4300 kg (9480 lb).
Max speed 806 km/h (435 kt);
Service ceiling 44,000 ft (13 411 m);
Range 1512 km (816 nm)

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Page last modified: 27-03-2012 18:13:11 ZULU