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  • Fiat Cr.42 Falco (Falcon) Biplane Fighter Aircraft

    The Fiat CR.42 was designed off the successes of the CR.32, with Italy still believing in the capabilities of biplane aircraft.

     Updated: 5/31/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Despite its by-gone era appearance, the Fiat CR.42 Falco (meaning "Falcon") played a crucial role in the early war years for Italy, serving as the primary fighter for the Italian air force (Regia Aeronautica. The system was fielded in some quantity with multiple nations and provided some surprising combat capabilities despite the old-school design. CR.42's served with Italian forces up until the end of Italy's part in the war, ultimately being retired for good in 1945.

    Even by 1939 standards, the CR.42 played the role of outdated aircraft by sheer appearance. The system (designed by one Celestino Rosatelli) utilized a sesquiplane biplane approach where the lower wing assembly was shorter in span than the upper. The undercarriage remained fixed and the pilot sat in an open-air cockpit behind the engine and entire wing assembly. A Fiat-brand A.74 R1C 14-cylinder radial piston engine of 840 horsepower powered the type offering up good range and an adequate service ceiling. Armament initially consisted of a pair of synchronized 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns but this was later upgraded to a more potent array of 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns. The latter upgrade could also be complimented with an additional 2 x 12.7mm machine guns in underwing fairing positions. A bombload of up to 440lb could be added underwing for strike sorties.

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    Fiat Cr.42 Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1939
    Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
    National Origin: Kingdom of Italy
    Manufacturer(s): Fiat - Italy
    Production Total: 1,784

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 27.13 feet (8.27 meters)
    Width: 31.82 feet (9.70 meters)
    Height: 11.78 feet (3.59 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 3,929 lb (1,782 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 5,066 lb (2,298 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Fiat A.74 R1C 14-cylinder radial piston engine developing 840 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 267 mph (430 kph; 232 knots)
    Maximum Range: 482 miles (775 km)
    Service Ceiling: 33,465 feet (10,200 meters; 6.34 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 2,340 feet-per-minute (713 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 7.7 Breda-SAFAT machine guns

    2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns

    2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in underwing blisters
    440lbs of bombs held underwing

    Global Operators / Customers

    Belgium; Nazi Germany; Hungary; Kingdom of Italy; Sweden.

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    CR.42 - Base series designation; fitted with 12.7mm OR 7.7mm machine guns in some cases; some CR.42 models converted to twin-seat communications platforms.

    CR.42AS - Desert Modified Model

    CR.42B (CR.42DB) - Single Example Model fitted with Daimler-Benz DB 601 series engine for improved speed.

    CR.42bis - Fitted with 4 x 12.7mm machine guns and 2 x 7.7mm machie guns (these in underwing blister positions).

    CR.42CN - Nightfighter

    ICR.42 - Prototype Developmental Floatplane Model; produced by CMASA.

    CR.42LW - Nightfighter used by Luftwaffe.

    CR.42 "Bombe Alari" - Modified Bomber Model