The original Fiat CR.1 single-seat biplane fighter of 1924 was succeeded, rather quickly, by the CR.20 of 1926. The mark proved a substantial upgrade to the earlier offering in that it was completed in all-metal construction (the CR.1 used fabric-over-wood). Also unlike the CR.1, which had an" inverted" sesquiplane biplane arrangement (the lower element of wider span than the upper), the CR.20 reverted to a more standard sesquiplane where the upper element was of greater span than the lower. First-flight was had on June 19th, 1926 and the aircraft went on to be produced in the hundreds across a handful of variants (detailed below).
The CR.20 marked the first of fighter designs attributed to Celestino Rosatelli to feature all-metal construction during a time when such-a-technique was becoming commonplace for aircraft the world over. Two prototypes were ultimately completed during1926 and both carried the Fiat A.20 V12 engine of 420 horsepower output. Like the CR.1 before it, the CR.20 exhibited strong performance characteristics and excellent handling / maneuverability to the point that the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) took the type into inventory. The first-order totaled 88 aircraft and these came from Fiat from 1927 into 1929. Nineteen examples arrived from CMASA.
Some 250 of the standard CR.20 fighting biplanes were made. The CR.20B represented a two-seat trainer that appeared in 1927, seating its crew in tandem. The CR.20bis was produced across 235 examples and reflected a modernized form with reduced-area wings and a change to the undercarriage. The CR.20bis was also seen in the CR.20bis "AQ" mark which fitted the Fiat A.20 "AQ" engine of increased power (425 horsepower) - at the cost of reduced operational range. The CR.20bis and CR.20bis AQ variants arrived between 1930 to 1932.
The CR.20 "Asso" carried the Isotta Fraschini "Asso" engine of 450 horsepower mated to the airframe of the CR.20bis. Two-hundred four aircraft were produced to this standard from 1932-1933 (the variant regarded as the definitive CR.20 form). The CR.20 "Idro" marked a twin-float seaplane development of the CR.20 to which 46 aircraft were constructed. The CR.20B became a two-seat trainer / communications aircraft developed in 1927 and appeared in limited numbers.
Ultimately the line was adopted by several air powers of Europe - Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, and the Soviet Union (trialled). Paraguay five CR.20bis fighters for South America's part in the CR.20's history.
As finalized, the fighter form was given a length of 6.7 meters, a wingspan of 9.8 meters, and a height of 2.75 meters. Empty weight was 980 kilograms against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 1,400 kilograms. Maximum speed was 270 kmh with a range out to 750 kilometers and a service ceiling up to 7,500 meters.
Armament standardized across all variants was 2 x 7.7mm (0.303") machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. There was also provision to mount a additional pair of guns, one to each fuselage side, for a more impressive offensive "punch".
Production 735 Units
Fiat - Italy
Austria; Hungary; Kingdom of Italy; Lithuania; Paraguay; Poland; Spain; Soviet Union
- Navy / Maritime
21.98 ft (6.7 m)
32.15 ft (9.8 m)
9.02 ft (2.75 m)
2,161 lb (980 kg)
3,086 lb (1,400 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Fiat Cr.20 production model)
1 x Fiat A.20 engine developing 420 horsepower.
168 mph (270 kph; 146 kts)
24,606 feet (7,500 m; 4.66 miles)
466 miles (750 km; 405 nm)
1,200 ft/min (366 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Fiat Cr.20 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
2 x 7.7mm machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
2 x 7.7mm machines gun fitted to fuselage sides, one gun per side.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Fiat Cr.20 production model)
CR.20 - Base Series Designation; model of 1926; original production model with Fiat A.20 engine of 420 horsepower; 250 completed.
CR.20bis - Modernized form of 1929; revised undercarriage and reduced-area wings; 235 completed.
CR.20bis AQ - CR.20bis models fitting Fiat A.20 AQ engine of 425 horsepower; model of 1930.
CR.20 "Asso" - Variant fitting Isotta Fraschini Asso engine of 450 horsepower; 204 examples completed.
CR.20B - Tandem, two-seat training / communications aircraft; limited production; model of 1927.
CR.20 "Idro" - Floatplane derivative with twin-float arrangement.
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
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