The Italian attempt on the 'Merlin Whirlwind' theme...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    ... and a two-seater, to boot. The wing area was 10% greater than Whirlwind.

    The IMAM, Italian aeronautic company, produced the twin-engined fighter, the Ro.57, 1st flight conducted in 1939. The overall performance was not impressive, though the punch was decent. So the IMAM went one step ahead, developing the Ro.57 into Ro.58. Main chages being the installation of the DB-601 engines, addition of the second crew member and increase of armament into up to 5 x 20mm and a HMG for the second crew member. The resulting plane was in the same time a promissing one (claimed speed was 605 km/h on, for 1942, modest power) and a problematic one (as claimed in Wikipedia article). It took some time to solve issues, but the lack of the DBs, and, later, the Italian's armistice spelled doom for the airplane.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1938 Germany decided to devote about 75% of total airframe production capacity to only two aircraft - Ju-88 (about 50%) and Me-109. Everything else got crumbs. Consequently within 3 years Germany had a decent fighter aircraft and a decent light bomber available in large numbers.

    IMO late 1930s Italy must take a similiar approach if they want an effective air force during early 1940s. Building something similiar to Whirlwind is just one more diversion of resources they cannot afford.
     
  3. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    #3 Dogwalker, Apr 23, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
    The IMAM firm had huge problems even in obtaining the two engines for the prototype (at the end, they obtained two used Alfa Romeo / DB601, retired from first line service for major overhaul, at the condition they overhaul them tehmselves). The RO.58, after solved the initial aerodynamic problem (it was due to insufficient dimension of the control surfaces in the tail, and was solved in few days by cutting the entire tail sector, attaching it to a hinge in the upper part, and controlling it with an hydraulic jack in the lover part.) was brought to Guidonia to be tried by the Regia Aeronautica, and there it was tested against a Me410 (German pilots were there to test the new "Serie 5" fighters) with good results (the Ro.58 won even the "dog run" test, from Guidonia to the top of the Gran Sasso and back).
    But at that time, Alfa Romeo could not even produce enough engines to power the Reggiane 2001 already ordered. It was inevitable for the Ro.58 remain at the prototype stage.
     
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