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G.55 Centauro
Fighter
Fiat

G.55 Centaur, Italian WWII fighter

The Fiat G.55 Centauro, the Centaur, is a single-seat Italian WWII fighter designed by the Fiat Design Bureau under the direction of Giuseppe Gabrielli.

The aircraft belongs to the fifth generation of Italian fighters. Like the Re.2005 and MC.205, it was equipped with a powerful German DB-605 engine, but unlike the last two, the G.55 was not an upgraded version of the old model, but was designed from scratch, using the most advanced technologies. In comparative tests, the "Centaur" not only surpassed both competitors, but also demonstrated certain advantages over the German Bf 109G and FW 190A fighters.

A wing of high aspect ratio, sufficient structural strength, excellent maneuverability and high speed, coupled with powerful weapons, allowed him to confidently fight any enemy from the ground to the practical ceiling. However, his fighting career cannot be compared to most opponents, each of whom he could challenge.

The political and military crisis in Italy that emerged in the summer of 1943 led to a split in the country at the end of the same year. While the southern part of the Apennine Peninsula, under the control of the Anglo-American troops, formally withdrew from the war on September 8, in the north, where the Germans ruled, a new state arose under the protectorate of Germany - the Italian Socialist Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiano) For the newly created country, its own state symbols were developed. The Air Force did not stand aside in early January 1944 for all aircraft that were part of the ANR. new identification marks were adopted.

The combat career of the G.55 in the Italian Air Force was quite short. The first fighters entered the ANR (Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicano) squadrons in the second half of 1943, and by the spring of 1945 none of them remained in service. Despite this, the G.55 became one of the main fighters of the ANR Air Force and was considered the best aircraft ever adopted in Italy during the Second World War.

Before Italy's surrender, the Centaurs managed to arm only two divisions.

After the end of the war, "Centaurs" quickly passed into the category of training machines and once again changed color, becoming dull silver. This is, in fact, the end of the story of the Italian G.55 fighter, which, despite its excellent characteristics, was clearly late with the appearance in the Italian Air Force. A year earlier, he could have caused much more trouble for the British and Americans ...

A total of 105 aircraft were built.


FIAT | CR.25 | CR.32 | CR.42 | G.50 | G.55 | G.56 | Br.20 | RS.14 | G.12 | G.18 |


G.55 Centauro Specification
Crew 1
Dimensions
Wing span, m 11.85
Wing area, m² 21.11
Length, m 9.37
Height, m 3.13
Ppowerplant
1 PE Fiat (Daimler-Benz) RA 1050 RC 58 Tifone (DB.605A), power, h.p. 1475
Weight, kg:
Empty 2630
Loaded weight 3718
Performance
Maximum speed, km/h 630
Rate of climb, m/min 835
Service ceiling, m 12700

Armament. One 20-mm Mauser MG 151/20 cannon on the engine, 2 x 20-mm cannons in the wing, and 2 x 12.7-mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in the fuselage, 2 х 160kg bombs.

Modifications

  • G.55 is the main modification.
  • G.55S - in March 1945 at the Venegono airfield, in the Varese region, the G.55S was tested, adapted for delivering torpedo strikes. Only one aircraft was built.
  • G.55A is a single-seat fighter and training aircraft for increasing flight training. The prototype took off for the first time on September 5, 1946. It differed from the G.55 only in its instruments and weapons. The armament could consist either of two 12.7 mm caliber machine guns installed in the wing and two fuselage machine guns, or two 20 mm Hispano-Suiza cannons installed in the wing and two 12.7 mm fuselage machine guns. The Italian Air Force received 19 G.55A aircraft and 30 were delivered to Argentina, 17 of which were returned in 1948 for resale to Egypt. These aircraft were armed with four 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns.
  • G.55B is a two-seater training aircraft for increasing flight training. The prototype took off on February 12, 1946; 10 aircraft were used by Aeronautics Militair and 15 were sold to Argentina in 1948
Photo Description
Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, "Centaur" with a FIAT D.B. engine 605 1944, view 3/4

Fighter FIAT G. 55 Centauro, 3/4 front and rear views.

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, cockpit.

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, cockpit layout.

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, cockpit left panel.

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, cockpit right panel.

Fighter FIAT G. 55 Centauro, aircraft layout.

Fighter FIAT G. 55 Centauro, aircraft control.

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, armament.

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, main landin gear.

Fighter FIAT G.55 Centauro, tail wheel.

Bibliography

  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /
  • Skin "Centaur" / Mikhail Larinov, Sergey Samusenko /
  • Catalogo Nomenclatore "G.55-serie I" motore FIAT D.B. 605 /Ministero dell' Aeronautica/
  • Manuale. Aeroplane Fiat "G.55" motore FIAT D.B. 605 /Ministero dell' Aeronautica Roma 1943/