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Fiat G.59 (Centauro)

Italy (1950)
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Origin: Italy
Year: 1950
Type: Fighter / Fighter-Trainer / Advanced Trainer Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Fiat - Italy
Production: 87


Completing the World War 2-era Fiat G.55 fighter with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine produced the post-war Fiat G.59 series for Italy and Syria.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Fiat G.59 (Centauro) Fighter / Fighter-Trainer / Advanced Trainer Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/31/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

During World War 2, German ally Italy was granted local license-production of the Diamler-Benz DB 605 inline piston engine and this fit went on to power several Italian frontline fighters of the conflict - including the Fiat G.55 "Centauro" of which 274 were produced during the period. The G.55 proved a strong counter to the classic Allied aircraft of the war including Spitfires, Mustangs, and Thunderbolts and certainly earned its respect. Italy surrendered to the Allies in September of 1943 and production of the G.55 was eventually ended.

After the war in 1946, Fiat looked to jumpstart manufacture of their useful monoplane fighter and this ultimately produced the G.55A and G.55B marks - the former was completed in a single-seat fighter / advanced trainer form with the latter was used as a two-seat trainer. Both Italy and Argentina took the renewed fighter into service and this demand eventually led to a shortage of available DB 605A inline engines. As orders for the G.55 were still outstanding, it was decided to re-engine the fighter with the British Rolls-Royce "Merlin" - the famous powerplant that drove the war-winning Spitfires and Mustangs for the Allies.

First-flight of a Merlin-engined (Merlin T.24-2 of 1,610 horsepower) G.55 (G.55BM) occurred in early 1948 and proved a healthy mating. The Italian Air Force liked what it saw and ordered their existing fleet of G.55 to be re-engined in the same fashion. Twelve G.55AM fighters were completed to the new "G.59" standard followed by sixteen single-seat "G.59-1A" and two-seat "G.59-1B" variants - introduced for service in 1950. Beyond the Italians, the Syrian Air Force took note and ordered thirty fighters which ended as new-build aircraft in the form of 26 x single-seat G.59-2A models (with 4 x 20mm cannon armament) and 4 xtwo-seat G.59-2Bs (2 x 12.7mm machine gun armament).

The G.59 line was completed with the introduction of the single-seat G.59-4A and the two-seat G.59-4B variants which installed bubble-style canopies for improved pilot vision. The A-model also featured a cut-down rear fuselage design. The Italian Air Force adopted twenty of the former and ten of the latter. The G.59-3A was proposed as a navigational trainer and did not proceed beyond a prototype.

The Argentine Air Force evaluated a single G.59-2A but this did not turn into a tangible production order.

As completed, the G.59 exhibited a maximum speed of 368 miles per hour and an operational range of 882 miles.

Any available statistics for the Fiat G.59 (Centauro) Fighter / Fighter-Trainer / Advanced Trainer Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (370mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Fiat G.59's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
87
87


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Global Operators:
Italy; Syria
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Fiat G.59 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
31.07 ft


Meters
9.47 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
38.88 ft


Meters
11.85 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.30 ft


Meters
3.75 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
6,041 lb


Kilograms
2,740 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
7,496 lb


Kilograms
3,400 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Rolls-Royce Merlin T.24-2 inline piston engine developing 1,610 horsepower while driving three-bladed propeller at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
370 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
595 kph


Knots
321 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
621 mi


Kilometers
1,000 km


Nautical Miles
540 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
41,010 ft


Meters
12,500 m


Miles
7.77 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,345 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
715 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

Single-Seat Fighter / Fighter-Trainer:
4 x 20mm Hispano wing-mounted cannons

Two-Seat Trainer (optional):
2 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs)
Variants: Series Model Variants
• G.59 - Base Series Designation
• G.55AM - Rebuilt G.55 Italian Air Force aircraft with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines; 12 examples.
• G.59-1A - Single-seat fighter / fighter-trainer for Italian Air Force.
• G.59-1B - Two-seat trainer for Italian Air Force
• G.59-2A - Single-seat fighter for Syrian Air Force; 30 examples; 4 x 20mm cannons in wings (two per wing).
• G.59-2B - Two-seat trainer for Syrian Air Force; 10 examples; 2 x 12.7 HMG armament.
• G.59-3A - Navigation trainer; single prototype only.
• G.59-4A - Single-seat fighter for Italian Air Force; 20 examples.
• G.59-4B - Two-seat trainer for Italian Air Force; 10 examples.