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Breda Ba.64

Kingdom of Italy (1937)
Picture of Breda Ba.64 Ground Attack Aircraft
Picture of Breda Ba.64 Ground Attack Aircraft

The Breda Ba.64 saw only a few short years of service beginning in 1937 before being replaced in 1939 by the much-improved Ba.65.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Breda Ba.64 Ground Attack Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/12/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Breda Ba.64 was a short-lived ground attack platform fielded primarily by the Regia Aeronautica of Italy prior to and during the early years of World War 2 (1939-1945). Developed from the outset as a multirole fighter-bomber, the series saw specific use as a limited ground attack airframe for the duration of her career. The type was utilized in small numbers and production totals managed to exceed just 40 units. Despite its service introduction in 1937, the Ba.64 was formally given up for good by 1939 - though it persisted a while longer before Italy's final collapse in 1943.

In 1933, the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) proposed a new multirole-minded monoplane aircraft. Breda then developed their Ba.64 platform to this specification based on their previous Ba.27 single-seat monoplane fighter (itself debuting in 1933). The ba.27 sported an understructure consisting of steel tubing with a metal-skinned body, wood wings and a wooden tail section. Consistent with the times, the pilot sat in an open-air cockpit - fitted well forward in the design - and the engine powered a three-bladed propeller assembly. Only fourteen of the type were ever built (of the eighteen examples originally ordered) and, while passed on by the Italian Air Force, they were used by the Chinese Nationalist Air Force during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) through 11 total delivered examples.
With experience in having developed the Ba.27, Breda designed the Ba.64 as a similar low-wing monoplane fighter, the engine powering a similar three-bladed propeller arrangement and the cockpit seated well forward in the design as before. To cover the broad Regia Aeronautica requirement, Breda progressed with two distinct prototype forms - a single-seat fighter and a slightly revised two-seat bomber form with elongated cockpit area, both intending to fit machine gun armament with the latter completed with provisions for bombs. The powerplant of choice became the British-originated Bristol Pegasus of 700 horsepower fitted to a forward compartment. Design work progressed throughout 1933 and into 1934.

Initial prototype forms were made ready in 1934 with first flight achieved that year. The evaluation did not prove the design promising - generally underpowered and not wholly fast. Despite the showing, the Italian government ordered the type into production in its single-seat fighter form. After several examples of this type had emerged, it was then settled on a hybrid version of the two Breda prototypes- this set to include the undercarriage of the fighter prototype with the two-seat cockpit of the bomber prototype. All production forms were given the locally-produced Alfa Romeo 125C radial piston engine of 650 horsepower output. These powerplants were, in fact, developed from the British Bristol Pegasus and went on to power several Italian aircraft designs of the period. All preceding single-seat examples were eventually standardized to the two-seat bomber form. Production began in 1935 and spanned into 1936 to which only 42 examples were completed. The Breda Ba.64 was formally introduced into Regia Aeronautica service in 1937.

With its crew of two seated in tandem under a heavily framed cockpit, the Ba.64 airframe exhibited a fuselage length of 31.8 feet with a wingspan measuring nearly 40 feet. The system was cleared with a maximum take-off weight reaching 6,690lbs and some 1,200lbs of bombs could be carried aloft. Fixed offense and defense was through a pair of 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT heavy machine guns and up to three 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT medium-class aerial machine guns - one fitted to the rear cockpit to protect the aircraft's vulnerable "six". Power was served through a single Alfa Romeo 125 RC.35 series radial piston engine outputting at 650 horsepower and supplying the airframe with a top speed of 217 miles per hour, a maximum service range of 560 miles and a service ceiling of up to 23,000 feet. The Ba.64 was more or less comparable to the German Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" in both form and function, though the German development saw considerably more early-war success than the Italian Ba.64, being produced in over 6,500 examples after its 1936 introduction into service.

From the beginning, the Ba.64 showed itself an outmoded and outdated design initiative compared to her contemporaries elsewhere in the world. The type still proved slow and heavy at the controls and there was little to recommend the aircraft for true frontline service - its fighter prowess eventually given up for a traditionally bomber-minded, ground attack role instead. The airframe was tricky to fly and required an experienced cool hand at the controls - green pilots were known to have been permanently weeded out by accidents and the like. Therefore, the Ba.64, already limited by its low production total, led a short frontline service life with the Italian Air Force which had moved on to the improved Breda Ba.65 - a similar-minded, low-wing monoplane debuting in 1936 and exhibited more inherent power. 218 of this type were eventually produced. This left the existing Ba.64 to languish as a second-line performer for the rest of her days. It saw little foreign interest and was formally retired by the Regia Aeronautica in 1939. Despite this, shortage of much-needed aircraft for the Italian Air Force persisted, leaving a few Ba.64 mounts in active circulation as late as 1943. In September of that year, Italy as an Axis foe had surrendered.

Beyond the Regia Aeronautica of Italy, the Ba.64 was known to have served with Spain, the Soviet Union and Uruguay. A single example was fielded in the Spanish Civil War alongside Nationalist forces in the subsequent fighting. The Soviet Union received examples via export beginning in 1938 though these led rather unassuming service lives as well. Overall, the Ba.64 was never truly a success on any level, outpaced nearly immediately after its inception due to the changing design, technology and construction methods of the period - and limited Italian aeronautical foresight when compared to the rear of the world.






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 (217mph).

    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 Breda Ba.64's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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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
42
42


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: Kingdom of Italy
Year: 1937
Type: Ground Attack Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Breda - Italy
Production: 42
Global Operators:
Kingdom of Italy; Spain; Soviet Union; Uruguay
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 Breda Ba.64 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
31.89 ft


Meters
9.72 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
39.70 ft


Meters
12.1 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.30 ft


Meters
3.14 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
4,475 lb


Kilograms
2,030 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
6,689 lb


Kilograms
3,034 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Alfa Romeo 125 RC.35 radial pisotn engine developing 650 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
217 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
350 kph


Knots
189 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
559 mi


Kilometers
900 km


Nautical Miles
486 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
22,966 ft


Meters
7,000 m


Miles
4.35 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT heavy machine guns in wings.
2 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT general purpose machine gunsin wings.
1 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun on trainable mount in rear cockpit.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 1,200lbs of munitions.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ba.64 - Base Series Designation