Sem Model 1/72 Macchi MB.339CD
Advanced Trainer/Light Ground Attack
by Giovanni Di Nocera


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AerMacchi built Advanced Trainer and Light Strike aircraft. The MB-339 is a worthy successor to the MB-326 and the long line of brilliant fighters and racers from this stable. The plane's first flight was 12 August 1976 and the plane entered service in 1979 with manufacture beginning in 1978. The plane was designed to replace the MB-326 and the G-91T in Italian Service.

The structure of the MB-339 is conventional with all metal construction sharing some common components with the MB-326. The plane has a straight edge wing with wing-tip fuel tanks and intakes at the wing roots. The plane sits low on a tri-cycle under-carriage. The plane is powered by one Rolls-Royce Viper Mk. 632 turbojet providing 4,000 lbf (17.8 kN) thrust.

The plane can carry two 7.62mm guns or two 30mm DEFA cannons in under-wing gun-pods (MB-339CD) similar to those carried on the MB-326K. The plane can also carry up to 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) of weapons on six hardpoints, including AIM-9 Sidewinders or R.550 Magic air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, Sea Killer anti-ship missiles, Matra Durandal anti-runway bombs, BAP 100 cluster bombs, BAT 120 anti-vehicle bombs, general-purpose bombs and pods for Zuni or SNEB unguided rockets.

Continuing the export success of the MB-326, the MB-339 has been exported to Eritrea, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Dubai, Ghana, Peru, New Zealand and Nigeria. A total of 230 MB-339s were constructed with construction ending in 2004. The plane is still operated in Eritrea, Italy, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and the United States (Draken International - 9 ex-New Zealand Air Force).









Operational History
In 1980 the Argentinian Navy ordered ten MB-339As. These planes were delivered in 1981 and were operated by the III Escuadra Naval, 1 Escuadrilla de Ataque. During the Falklands War late in April 1982 six MB-339s were located at Port Stanley Airport and were the first aircraft to hit the Royal Navy amphibious force striking the frigate HMS Argonaut causing damage. Six MB-339s were also purchased in 1996 by Eretria using the plane in multiple ground attack strikes against Ethiopia.

Construction

The model used here is the Italeri 1/72 MB-339A + SEM Model Conversion kit for the MB-339CD, the attack variant with additional weapons stores and updated avioncs and modernised flight controls. Accordingly, the conversion kit contains: the nose, the refueling probe, the rear vertical plane, the seats, the front and rear consoles (I would have added also the front trolley because the original needs to be modified). The Italeri kit is the ex-Supermodel kit with all its defects, not modified by Italeri. Fuselage and wings need to be re-engraved. The access panels in fuselage are ok, however those above and below the model need to be redone. The front carriage needs to be modified, it must be lowered to a stationary plane, the nose must point downward - a good picture is better than a thousand words. The cockpit needs to be enlarged at least 4 mm in front and 2 mm in the rear, otherwise the seats of the SEM kit will not fit. The canopy system is different from the A model, I used a transparent piece to make it, because it also acts as a division with the front piloting station. For the rudder I built a template to avoid making a mistake. For antennas, look for reference photos of the model. For the pitot tubes I used a piece of copper of the correct diameter. Add the rear exhaust cone because its absent. I used the kit supplied wing-tip fuel tanks. The SEM Model ejector seats only need to be painted and add the decals provided with the conversion kit. With the open canopy it greatly enhances the final display.

Technical Data

Technical Data
Aircraft: Aermacchi MB-339A
Manufacturer: Alenia Aermacchi
Type: Advanced Trainer/Light Attack
Year: 1979
Engine: Rolls-Royce Viper Mk. 632 turbojet, 4,000 lbf (17.8 kN)
Wingspan: 35 ft 7 in (10.86 m)
Length: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
Height: 11 ft 9 in (3.60 m)
Weight: 13,000 lb (5,897 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 575 mph (926 km/h) Mach 0.82
Ceiling: 48,000 ft (14,630 m)
Range: 1,093 miles (1,760 km)
Armament: 2 x 7.62mm MGs or 2 x 30mm DEFA cannons (MB-339CD); 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) of weapons on six hardpoints
Crew: 2

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June, 2018
STORMO! 2018