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Z.1018 Leone
Medium Bomber

CANT Z.1018

The wooden prototype of the future bomber made its maiden flight on October 9, 1939. Since then, the aircraft has been modified many times, delaying its development. In the final version, the bomber was a metal midwing with two radial air-cooled engines and a single-fin tail. The commander and co-pilot, as in the previous models, were located in tandem, one after the other, while the commander "got" the steering wheel and the co-pilot the control stick.

Issued on December 29, 1940, the first order for 10 pre-production Z.1018A (numbers MM.24290 - MM.24299) was completed only in 1942, but even here the commission did not find full satisfaction. Of these aircraft, 9 were built from wood and one was made from aluminum on a pilot basis. Sometimes the designation Z.1018L was applied to these bombers (the letter L stood for "legno" - wood). The aircraft with the number MM.24299 was finished in the modification of a torpedo bomber. The transition to a metal structure was also not accidental, moreover, on May 8, 1942, the commission introduced a new requirement to equip all further all-metal bombers with only one keel. A prototype of the modified aircraft (MM.507) flew Stoppani on June 18, 1942. The company, after carefully weighing the test results, came to the conclusion that it would be easy to start production of metal Z.1018 and this would not delay the serial construction of bombers. The second order was 100 copies, which were joined by two more Z.1018Ms (MM.24824 - MM.24925, MM.25162 - MM.25163) on October 31, 1942. In the future, it was planned to increase production and connect such companies as Piaggio, Breda, IMAM and Fiat. It was not possible to realize these dreams.

In the meantime, the built production samples were idle. In incomplete form, they were in storage and their commissioning was scheduled for April 1943. On December 11, 1942, an order was issued ordering to send the aircraft with the number MM.24191 to the disposal of the fighter group stationed in Treviso to evaluate its use as a night fighter. Shortly before this, an attempt was made to install automatic flaps on the bomber and adapt the Z.1018 to dive bombing. Such drastic changes in the specifics of the activity had a negative impact on the further fate of the bomber.

It so happened that the military trials of the Z.1018A took place in the 97th fighter group, which had 15 IMAM Ro.57 twin-engine fighters and two Fiat CR.42 single-engine biplanes. In August-September 1943, there were three Z.1018A, but they were all in reserve and did not make any combat missions. One bomber was also received by a bomber squadron based in Perugia-San Egidio, but in one of the flights the plane was destroyed and its crew was killed. The last two Z.1018A (one wooden and one metal) entered the training torpedo squadron.

On September 9, 1943, in order to avoid the capture of bombers by German forces, the commander of the 2nd Air Army, General Porro, ordered two Z.1018s to be sent south. The pilots arrived at Fano airfield and, with no further orders, handed the bombers over to the local authorities. The aircraft remaining in the north (MM. 24824, 24827, 24828, 24831, 24833 and 24835) passed into the hands of the Germans. There is no specific information about their use, but due to the fact that the order for 200 bombers was automatically canceled, it can be assumed that the captured Z.1018 flew as transport aircraft. At least one Z.1018A has been tested at the Rechlin Research Center. The last copies that survived until the spring of 1945 were destroyed by partisans right at their own airfield.

Despite the small number of built examples, the aircraft nevertheless remained in the history of Italian aircraft construction as the highest achievement in the field of bombers.

CANT Z.1018 Leone Specification
Crew 5
Wingspan, m 22.50
Wing area, m² 63.10
Length, m 17.60
Height, m 6.08
2 х PE Piaggio P. XII R.C.35, power, h.p. 2 х 1350
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 7,360
Loaded weight 12,000
Maximum speed, km/h 497
Cruising speed, km/h 368
Service range, km 1,335
Service ceiling, m 7,400
three 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, two 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, bombs, kg 1000
CANT Z.1018 A
Photo Description
Drawing CANT Z.1018

Drawing CANT Z.1018, Piaggio P. XII R.C.35 Powerplpant

CANT Z.1018

CANT Z.1018, 3/4 front and side view

CANT Z.1018, engine, Ladding gear

CANT Z.1018, dashboard

CANT Z.1018, upper firing point

CANT Z.1018, airborne firing point

CANT Z.1018, bottom arrow point

CANT Z.1018, aircraft booking

CANT Z.1018, commander's wheel and co-pilot's control stick

CANT Z.1018, tail wheel retracted


  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /
  • Aeroplano "CANT Z 1018 A" bemotore Piaggio P. XII bis R.C.35 /Ministero dell' Aeronautica, 1943/