Military Factory logo

Fiat Cr.42 Falco (Falcon)

Kingdom of Italy (1939)
Picture of 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.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Fiat Cr.42 Falco (Falcon) Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 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Even by 1939 standards, the CR.42 played the role of outdated aircraft by sheer appearance.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.
The Falco was initially fielded in 1939 with over 140 in service by the summer of 1940. CR.42's fared reasonably well as dogfighters and interceptors against French fighters and bombers over Southern France and were adept at bomber escorting and light bombing French ground targets themselves. CR.42's were fielded in this latter role over North Africa as well. Being wholly outclassed by the crop of monoplane aircraft littering the skies by the middle years of the war, the CR.42 played a more diminished role, particularly by the end of Italy's involvement in the conflict. The capitulation of Italy all but ended the Regia Aeronautica-operated CR.42's involvement to which the German Luftwaffe put in an order of their own for some 200 CR.42LW (LuftWaffe) models for "night harassment" duty.

Some 1,784 total CR.42's were produced during the war with just a small portion of that surviving in operational form by war's end. Primary users alongside the Italians included the Germans, Hungarians, Swedes and Belgians. Variants of the base fighter type included a multi-machine gun version in the CR.42bis, a night fighter model in the CR.42CN a two-seat communications platform.






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: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (267mph).

    Graph average of 225 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 Cr.42'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
1784
1784


  * 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  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Kingdom of Italy
Year: 1939
Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Fiat - Italy
Production: 1,784
Global Operators:
Belgium; Nazi Germany; Hungary; Kingdom of Italy; Sweden.
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 Cr.42 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
27.13 ft


Meters
8.27 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
31.82 ft


Meters
9.7 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
11.78 ft


Meters
3.59 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,929 lb


Kilograms
1,782 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
5,066 lb


Kilograms
2,298 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Fiat A.74 R1C 14-cylinder radial piston engine developing 840 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
267 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
430 kph


Knots
232 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
482 mi


Kilometers
775 km


Nautical Miles
418 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
33,465 ft


Meters
10,200 m


Miles
6.34 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,340 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
713 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 aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

EARLY:
2 x 7.7 Breda-SAFAT machine guns

LATE:
2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns

OPTIONAL:
2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in underwing blisters
440lbs of bombs held underwing
Variants: Series Model Variants
• 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