The Aermacchi MB339 project was started from a 1972 Italian Air Force requirement for an advanced replacement trainer for AermacchiÕs MB326. It first took to the air in 1976. Based on the airframe and engine of the MB326, the MB339 featured a reshaped forward fuselage and improved cockpit and avionics fit. The engine is a license-built Rolls Royce Viper 632-43 turbojet producing 4000 lbs thrust.
The MB339 entered service with the Italian Air Force in the early 1980s, and has been exported to numerous countries around the world in both the training and light attack configurations.