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.