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  • Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello (Bat) Medium Bomber / Transport Aircraft

    The Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 survived World War 2 and continued in service until 1950.

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

    The Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello ("Bat") served primarily with the Regia Aeronautica throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The aircraft played an effective role as both a troop transport and a bombing platform, taking part in the 1935 Italo-Abyssinian War, the 1936 Spanish Civil War, the 1939 invasion of Albania and the 1943 evacuation of Axis forces in Tunisia. The aircraft was nicknamed the "Slug" by its pilots on account of her slow performance by 1940s standards. Some 535 examples were produced in whole.

    Roots of Savoia-Marchetti
    Roots to the Savoia-Marchetti firm were laid down in 1915 during World War 1 (1914-1918). At this time, the company operated under the name of Societa Idrovolanti Alta Italia ("Seaplane Company of North Italy") under the initials of "SIAI" with a concentration on seaplane design and production. In the post-war world, the firm absorbed Societa Anonima Costruzioni Aeronautiche Savoia, an aircraft bureau begun by Umberto Savoia (also founded in 1915), and added the Savoia name. In 1922, chief designer Alessandro Marchetti joined the ranks of Savoia and the company name changed once more, this time to the more well-known "Savoia-Marchetti".

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    Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello (Bat) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1935
    Type: Medium Bomber / Transport Aircraft
    National Origin: Kingdom of Italy
    Manufacturer(s): Savoia-Marchetti - Italy
    Production Total: 535

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 6
    Length: 60.04 feet (18.3 meters)
    Width: 78.74 feet (24.00 meters)
    Height: 14.11 feet (4.30 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 14,991 lb (6,800 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 20,503 lb (9,300 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 3 x Piaggo P.X RC.15 OR Alfa Romeo 125 RC.35 OR Alfa Romeo 126 RC.34 OR Gnome-Rhone 14K radial piston engines delivering 670 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 208 mph (335 kph; 181 knots)
    Maximum Range: 932 miles (1,500 km)
    Service Ceiling: 22,966 feet (7,000 meters; 4.35 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in retractable ventral position.
    2 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in dorsal rear-facing position.
    1 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun in left beam position.
    1 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun in right beam position.

    up to 4,415lbs of internal ordnance (2,000lbs standard).

    Global Operators / Customers

    China; Kingdom of Italy; Spain

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    SM.81 - Base Production Model Designation; 535 examples produced.

    SM.81/T - Resumed Production Designation; 1943.

    SM.81bis - Developmental two-engine prototype; single example produced.