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Sunday, March 22nd 2009, 10:59pm

Italy: SM.79 Replacement

One of the largest programs in Italian aviation in the late 1930s was the search for a replacement for the Savoia-Marchetti SM.79. This aircraft formed the backbone of the Aeronautica Militare's offensive power throughout the decade with over a thousand examples being built. With the cancellation of the heavy bomber program in 1935, the medium bomber type would again form the majority of Italy's airbourne striking power. When it first appeared, the SM.79 was a true fast bomber, being able to outrun most fighters and being difficult to intercept. Given the poor results of the B-14 and B-17 heavy bombers over Argentina, this concept was furthered in the next generation of aircraft. A range of new construction techniques and technologies were incorporated into the designs offered in order to push the boundaries and proof the designs against expected new fighter types. As a result of the large nature of the requirement, with over two thousand aircraft expected to the be ordered, all of the major aircraft companies tendered submissions, of which one or more would be selected. The designs offered are examined in more detail below.

Caproni Maestrale
DAFI 1003
Fiat BR.23
Savoia-Marchetti Astore
Piaggio P.104


Sunday, March 22nd 2009, 11:17pm

Caproni Maestrale

The first aircraft designed by the reformed Caproni company was a compact fast bomber with a crew of two. It utilised all-metal construction, mostly in aluminium alloy. The small wing promised less drag and better performance at low altitude in the attack role at the expense of high altitude performance.

Crew: 2
Length: 13.73m Span: 15.86m Wing Area: 42m­^2
Empty Weight: 7443kg Maximum Weight: 12500kg
Engine: 2 x 1700hp Alfa-Romeo 135 RC.40
Maximum Speed: 560km/h@4000m
Rate of climb: 470m/min Service ceiling: 8000m
Range: 2400km
Armament: 4 x 20mm Oerlikon cannon in forward fuselage
Bombload: 2000kg over 900km combat radius


Sunday, March 22nd 2009, 11:42pm


This design was a two-engine medium bomber, with a single tail, retractable undercarriage, and metallic structure. It had duralumin structure, a skin of light alloy, and a crew of four or five. The contours of the slim fuselage were designed for aerodynamic benefit. The two pilots were in tandem, not side-by-side. Only the first pilot had a complete set of controls, while the copilot had limited visibility and only few instruments. Its wing was straight-tapered, with rounded wingtips. The low wing incorporated two structural spars. The wing was metal-covered forward and fabric-covered aft.

Crew: 4-5
Length: 17.6m Span: 22.5m Height:6.1m Wing Area: 63.1m­^2
Empty Weight: 8800kg Maximum Weight: 11500kg
Engine: 2 x 1350hp Piaggio P.XII RC.35
Maximum Speed: 520km/h@4500m
Service ceiling: 7250m
Range: 2200km
Armament: 2 x 13.2mm in dorsal and ventral mountings and 3 x 11.35mm in fuselage side and starboard wing
Bombload: 1500kg

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Red Admiral" (Mar 22nd 2009, 11:43pm)


Sunday, March 22nd 2009, 11:52pm

DAFI 1003

DAF-Italia's entry had a novel configuration and drew heavily on the company's previous experience with pusher designs. A single engine was mounted in a middle of the fuselage and a long drive shaft powered the pusher propeller aft.

Crew: 2
Length: 15.25m Span: 18.61m Wing Area: 50m­^2
Empty Weight: 5450kg Maximum Weight: 9200kg
Engine: 1 x 2070hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso 2000 RC.20/64
Maximum Speed: 536km/h@6400m
Service ceiling: 9800m
Range: 2300km
Armament: 2 x 25mm Oerlikon and 4 x 13.2mm Scotti in forward fuselage
Bombload: 2000kg over 800km combat radius


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 12:00am

Fiat BR.23

A heavily armed and armoured attack aircraft with a secondary role as a bomber.

Crew: 2
Length: 13.73m Span: 18.61m Wing Area: 50m­^2
Empty Weight: 7090kg Maximum Weight: 11500kg
Engine: 2 x 1700hp Alfa-Romeo 135 RC.40
Maximum Speed: 550km/h@4000m
Service ceiling: 9400m
Range: 2200km
Armament: 1 x 37/54 Breda cannon and 10 x 11.35mm Madsen in forward fuselage and wings
Bombload: 2000kg over 550km combat radius


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 12:10am

Savoia-Marchetti Astore

Another unconventional design with a pair of engines buried in the central fuselage connected to a large contra-rotating propeller in the nose. It was a large and powerful design with heavy armour capable of meeting both bomber and attack requirements.

Crew: 2
Length: 15.25m Span: 19.83m Wing Area: 55.8m­^2
Empty Weight: 7980kg Maximum Weight: 13000kg
Engine: 2 x 2070hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso 2000 RC.20/64
Maximum Speed: 646km/h@6400m
Service ceiling: 11000m
Range: 1900km
Armament: 1 x 37/54 Breda cannon and 4 x 13.2mm Scotti machine guns
Bombload: 3000kg over 650km combat radius


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 12:15am

Piaggio P.104

Piaggio's design was the largest and most capable of those presented. It was of conventional configuration but made use of remotely operated gun turrets to reduce drag.

Crew: 5
Length: 18.0m Span: 22.57m Wing Area: 70m­^2
Empty Weight: 9560kg Maximum Weight: 17000kg
Engine: 2 x 2070hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso 2000 RC.20/64
Maximum Speed: 586km/h@6400m
Service ceiling: 9800m
Range: 2400km
Armament: 4 x 13.2mm Scotti machine guns in dorsal and ventral turrets
Bombload: 4000kg over 900km combat radius


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 10:41am

Wow those are some projects to drool over there!

It seems though no distinction has been made between what roles this bomber is to fulfill. Is this medium bomber to bomb horizontaly with guns for self-defence or is the role to strafe and make ground attack/ dive bombing? It seems many of these favour the latter role. The South American war showed the importance of a 'strafer' and Argentina had the Tucan T-17 armoured attack aircraft. Small, single engined, agile and cheap. These twin-engned beauties face going up against light AA, they will be big targets to hit despite the formidible nose armaments and easy prey down low for fighters to get especially since most lack any rear armament. I, personally, think a Il-2/T-17 type aircraft better for strafing. Leave the bombers to bomb tactical targets and torpedo bombing.

My type by type apprasial.

Caproni Maestrale: Suited to attack roles, looks very capable on paper, unusual Orklieon armament for Italy, airbrakes noted, assuming they are dive-brakes. An Italian Mosquito.

CANT Z.1018: The classic medium bomber formula, numerous gun positions and conventional appearance, probably not the best in terms of self-defence, the co-pilot seems to have a raw deal, better ditch him or give him a turret as a gunner. Bombload is puny compared to the other competitors (more crew = more weight = less bombload).

DAFI 1003: Radical, foresee cooling problems and extension shaft problems. Probably not worth the hassle given the other designs here. Where does the bomb-aimer aim his bombs? Probably the best at altitude.

Fiat BR.23: Suited to attacking rather than bombing, expensive strafer, drop the wing guns and add fuel instead. May need a rear-gun for defence.

Savioa-Marchetti Astore: Like this one purely for the Tu-91 quirkiness. A pugnacious beast, suited for multi-role use with a wide array of weapons, self-defence too, not sure about the engine and propeller set up. Seems technically risky. Expensive to produce too. Needs more range to compete with the rest.

Piaggio P.104: (love the Tupolev 3-view!), looks the best as a medium bomber in the classical vein. Should be able to undertake tactical bombing easily enough with fine range and speed and advanced self-defence systems. The best bomber if that what you want. If you want a multi-role type go for the Savioa and if you need a strafer, downsize a bit more and go single engine.


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 11:05am

Change of mind RA? Not long ago you declared the Z.1018 open for others


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 11:36am

The requirement is for both a level bomber and something for low level attacks. Not attacks on tanks but rather ships or bridges and other important point targets. The ones suited more to the attack role have a lot of armour. Heavy defensive armament didn't seem to work too well in Argentina so a bit more speed is favoured instead and some backwards pointing guns.

Ca. Maestrale is fairly similar to the Mosquito but a bit heavier and stressed for dive bombing. Oerlikon FFLs are fairly standard Italian armament.

Z.1018 isn't so great compared to others but its an historical aircraft that fits the bill. Really its a bit too big and underpowered compared to the others.

DAFI 1003 shouldn't really have problems as the technology is already there and in use for a few years. More of a problem is fitting a bombbay, fuel tanks and engine into the same mid-fuselage space.

Fiat BR.23 doesn't have a bombbay so load would have to be carried outside and slow it down considerably. Performance at low level should be very good with a new version of the AR 136 suited to low altitude. Really Fiat is tied up with the Centauro and "India Bomber" projects and can't take on the extra work.

Technical problems with the SM Astore should be doable. The engines aren't geared together like the DB610 but remain separate and drive one half of the propeller each which is a bit easier. Only bearing and shafting problems there, which have already been solved to an extent. Might want some more armament though.

I do like the Piaggio P.104, but I need a name. Might have problems with the armament. Very efficient bomber though with high speed and large bombload. Piaggio are a bit busy making transports at the moment so might not be able to squeeze this in.


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 11:38am


Originally posted by Vukovlad
Change of mind RA? Not long ago you declared the Z.1018 open for others

Well it won't get built by Italy. I quite fancy some of the follow on Breda designs (301-303) but have yet to find a decent drawing.


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 5:04pm

Dipl.Ing. Kurt Simon's office, DAF Italia

"These Italians are a law unto themselves" Simon thought to himself as he gently bounced his head on the back of his hand on his desk.

A knock on the office door brought him out of his moment of regretting taking Herr Rohrbach up on his offer.

The door opened, and Luigi sheepishly stuck his head around the corner, "You wanted to see me, Signore Simon?"

"Luigi, come in, take a seat."replied Kurt, opening a draw in his desk as Luigi took his seat.
He pulled out a ream of papers and drawings from the drawer and placed them on the desk.
"Can you tell me what these are, please?" asked Kurt as he slid them towards Luigi.
Luigi quickly glanced at the plans, and after a moment, realised to his horror the reason for the summons to the boss's office.
"Madre Dolce del Dio! Signore, I don't know how this happened. I will deliver it myself right away!" he spluttered as he gathered together the submission for their offering for the replacement of the Aeronautica Militare's SM.79.
"Please see that you do!" snarled Kurt as he showed the marketing manager out of his office.
Luigi ran out of the outer office as the door slamed behind him.

Sophia, Kurt's secretary, shook her head as she heard her new boss screaming obscenities to the air in his office.
At least she assumed they were obscenities, her command of Danish was not that expansive yet!

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "Commodore Green" (Mar 29th 2009, 1:31pm)


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Monday, March 23rd 2009, 6:29pm

The Piaggo seems to be a bit heavy forward. I´d shorten her forward of her wings.

(She then will suddenly look a lot like a B-25 - at least in top view.)


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 7:38pm


Originally posted by HoOmAn
The Piaggo seems to be a bit heavy forward. I´d shorten her forward of her wings.

Yes I see what you mean. I'll cut down the front section and lengthen the back a bit. Will look a fair bit thinner than the B-25.


Tuesday, March 24th 2009, 10:46pm

Luigi made it!!
(see above)


Tuesday, March 24th 2009, 10:57pm

Its definitely an interesting look with the bicycle undercarriage and outriggers.


Tuesday, March 24th 2009, 11:30pm

Heh, I'm still waiting to hear about any tests of ejection seats, and the assorted problems therewith.


Tuesday, March 24th 2009, 11:33pm


Originally posted by Hrolf Hakonson
Heh, I'm still waiting to hear about any tests of ejection seats, and the assorted problems therewith.

The trials plane began to taxi down the runway for takeoff, when suddenly, a bump in the runway pavement caused the ejector seats to fire, sending both pilots high into the air with a mighty "SPROING!"



Wednesday, March 25th 2009, 12:10am


Originally posted by Hrolf Hakonson
Heh, I'm still waiting to hear about any tests of ejection seats, and the assorted problems therewith.

Well, as this is a true pusher (aka nothing behind the prop), the explosive bolt option is back in play, so that is the option I've gone with here.


Wednesday, March 25th 2009, 2:57am


Originally posted by Commodore Green


Originally posted by Hrolf Hakonson
Heh, I'm still waiting to hear about any tests of ejection seats, and the assorted problems therewith.

Well, as this is a true pusher (aka nothing behind the prop), the explosive bolt option is back in play, so that is the option I've gone with here.

That'll work, if the bolts fire, and the prop or blades don't happen to go in the wrong direction.

Germany hasn't really started looking into ejector seats yet, though I suspect it won't be long.