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C-26 "Metroliner"
An RC-26B aircraft of the Florida Air National Guard takes off from Jacksonville ANG Base at
Jacksonville International Airport in 2005.
Role Military transport aircraft
Manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Army
United States Navy
Developed from Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner

The Fairchild Aircraft C-26 "Metroliner" is the designation for the Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner series twin turboprop aircraft in the service of the United States military. It was not officially named by the US Armed Forces,[1] but is unofficially known by the same name as its civilian counterpart.[2] The C-26A is the military version of the Model SA227-AC Metro III; the C-26B is the military version of the Model SA227-BC Metro III and Model SA227-DC Metro 23; and UC-26C is the military designation for the Model SA227-AT Merlin IVC.


Design and development

The United States Air Force bought eleven C-26A aircraft based on the SA227-AC,[3][4] two of these being supplied to the Venezuelan Air Force.[5][6] The first three C-26Bs were procured later in the 1980s, two for the US Army and one for the USAF. These three had been built as SA227-BC models. Later C-26Bs were the military equivalent of the Metro 23 and the USAF took delivery of 37 examples. Some of these were transferred to the Peruvian Air Force and the US Army, while six were transferred to the US Navy as C-26Ds.[4][7][8] The US Army also took a second-hand Merlin IVC and operated it as the solitary UC-26C.[9]

A Metro III, c/n AC-614, was modified as the Fairchild Aircraft/Lockheed Multi Mission Surveillance Aircraft, featuring a Lockheed phased array radar in a long pod under the fuselage.[10] The MMSA was restored to its original configuration and now flies in Australia as a freighter with Pel-Air. However several aspects of the modifications were incorporated on some USAF C-26s as the RC-26B for use in the War on Drugs.[11] Another aircraft was modified for the Colombian Air Force for the same purpose.


An RC-26B sits at Jacksonville ANG Base in February 2005.
A Texas ANG RC-26B provided photographs of the flood damage in New Orleans, Louisiana in September 2005
military version of the Metro III (Model SA227-AC).
military version of the Metro III (Model SA227-BC) and Metro 23 (Model SA227-DC).
C-26B modified with electronic surveillance equipment for drug interdiction missions (USAF operates 11).[12]
this was a used 1983-built Merlin IVC operated for several years as 89-1471.[9] Modified with an integrated sensor package including forward looking infrared and high resolution radar.
C-26Bs transferred from USAF inventory and modified with new navigation equipment for the US Navy, four used for rapid response cargo and passenger transportation in Europe.
One range support aircraft operated by the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands.
Two range support aircraft operated by the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands with installed radar units.


  • Barbados Defence Force Air Wing - Regional Security System (RSS)
 Trinidad and Tobago
  • Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard (TTAG)
 United States

Specifications (C-26A)

General characteristics


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


  1. ^ DoD 412.15 Military
  2. ^ Fairchild Air Force Base C-26B Metroliner page
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Turboprop Production Lists Home Page Metro production list accessed via this site 25 August 2007.
  5. ^ USAF FY1986 Serial Number list. Retrieved: 25 August 2007.
  6. ^ Verified by conducting an online search of the Fuerza Aérea Venezolana database at on 25 August 2007, using the serial numbers "0009" and "1964". It would appear that the USAF took delivery of two aircraft serialled 86-0456 and the first (Fairchild c/n AC-745B) was passed to the FAV as 0009, the second being procured to replace that aircraft. The USAF FY1986 Serial Number list has 86-0455 (Fairchild c/n AC-744B) going to the FAV, but the other sources show it was 86-0456/AC-745B.
  7. ^ USAF FY1990 Serial Number list. Retrieved: 25 August 2007.
  8. ^ USAF FY1991 Serial Number list retrieved 25 August 2007.
  9. ^ a b .USAF FY1989 Serial Number list retrieved 25 August 2007.
  10. ^ "Coastwatch Tender to Usher In New Age of Surveillance." Australian Aviation magazine No. 93, December 1993, p. 24-27. Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd. ISSN 0813-0876.
  11. ^ C-26 page. Retrieved: 25 August 2007.
  12. ^ Airman, 2007 special edition, published by the USAF.
  • Donald, David, general editor. Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Etobicoke, ON: Prospero Books, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
  • Endes, Günter. "Fairchild (Swearingen) Metro/Merlin". The Illustrated Directory of Modern Commercial Aircraft. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Company, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1125-0.
  • Frawley, Gerard. "Fairchild Dornier Metro II, III & 23". The International Directory of Civil Aircraft. Canberra: Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd., 1997. ISBN 1-875671-26-9.
  • Palmer, Trisha, ed. "Swearingen Metro and Metro II/III". Encyclopedia of the World's Commercial and Private Aircraft. New York: Crescent Books, 2001. ISBN 0-517-362856.

External links



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