sunnuntai 27. syyskuuta 2015

Breda Ba.201

The Breda Ba.201 was an Italian dive bomber designed during World War II, that never entered production.

That the Regia Aeronautica struggled to develop an effective bomber force was surprising to all concerned, as in the pre-war period the Regia Aeronautica was highly rated and performed well during the Spanish Civil War and the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. But its performance in the first months of World War II was poor, even failing to subdue Malta with 1,000 bombers based less than 100 km away. 
One of the reasons was the lack of dive bombers and effective ground-attack aircraft; the Breda Ba.88 was a failure, and the Caproni Ca.310 was so ineffective that it was replaced by the Fiat CR.32 fighter bomber. 

Another failure was the Savoia-Marchetti SM.85 dive bomber, phased out and replaced by the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka even before the evaluation of its successor the Savoia-Marchetti SM.86 was complete.

In 1939, a new contest for a dive bomber was called, requiring a single-engine aircraft with a maximum speed of 500 km/h, or 450 km/h if twin-engined, capable of carrying 500 kg bombs, with an endurance of 1,200 km with a single engine, or 2,400 km with two engines. There was only one twin-engine proposal, the Piaggio P.122, which despite its all-metal construction, dorsal-wing airbrakes, two Piaggio P.XI R.C.40 engines giving a total of 1,491 kW (2,000 hp), and the lack of competitors, was considered unfit for service and was unbuilt.

Two single-engined types were proposed, the Caproni Ca.355, a single seat derivative of the Ca.335 light bomber that first flew in January 1941 and the Breda Ba.201.
The Ba.201 was a single-engined cantilever monoplane of all-metal construction. It had inverted gull wings, with split flaps that doubled as dive-brakes and was fitted with a retractable tailwheel undercarriage. It had a long slim fuselage, with a low mounted tailplane. The cockpit was set as far forward as possible to give a good view for the pilot.

The dive capabilities were found to be satisfactory, and the air brakes were highly effective, perhaps too effective - with the risk of slowing the aircraft down so much it became too easy a target. It was capable of carrying a single 500 kg bomb and was armed with two 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns fixed in the wings. After such engines as the 895 kW (1,200 hp) Fiat A.38, the 716 kW (960 hp) Isotta-Fraschini IF L.121, and the powerful 839 kW (1,125 hp) Isotta-Fraschini Zetra, were evaluated, the Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine was chosen, because it was compact, and allowed free dives thanks to its direct injection system.

The prototype first flew on 3 July 1941, and was then sent to Guidonia for official testing. The aircraft showed that it had enough agility, once freed of its bombload, to hold its own against other Italian fighters. However speed was disappointing, only 460 km/h - slower than the requested for 500 km/h - and slightly slower than older front-line fighters. The aircraft was barely capable of defending itself against enemy fighters, and then only after releasing its bomb. It had very good forward visibility, but rear visibility was poor.
In comparison the Junkers Ju-87D had a top speed of only 410 km/h, but was armed with two new 7.92 mm MG 81z machine guns, with 3,200 rpm instead of 1,050. 
The Junkers rear-gunner gave it a greater defensive capability, while the Ba.201 pilot relied on himself alone. The Reggiane Re.2001 fighter bomber fitted with the same DB 601 engine was able to reach almost 550 km/h, and carry 640 kg bombs.

The first prototype MM.451 was followed by only one other before the programme was cancelled.
                 Breda Ba.201.jpg
General characteristics
Crew: 1
Length: 11.09 m 
Wingspan: 13.00 m 
Height: 3.10 m 
Wing area: 24.84 m² 
Empty weight: 2,380 kg 
Max. takeoff weight: 3,650 kg 
Powerplant: 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601A liquid-cooled V12 engine, 867 kW (1,175 hp)
Maximum speed: 460 km/h at 4000m
Range: 1,200 km 
Climb to 4,000 m: 7 min 50 s
Armament: 2 × 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns 1 × 500 kg bomb

2 kommenttia:

  1. Such a fascinating post and I really like the photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

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