The Savoia-Marchetti SM.79Sparviero” was a medium bomber used by the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Airforce) during World War II. Introduced in 1936, it was the most successful medium bomber in service with the Italian Air Force during the war. ┬áThe SM.79 had originally been designed as a six-seater civil transport plane, flying for the first time in 1934. It received it baptism of fire at the end of 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, as part of the Aviazione Legionaria in support of Generalisimo Francisco Franco against the Soviet-backed Republican government. During WWII, it carried out bombing missions in the Balkans, during Operation Marita, in the Mediterranean, attacking British merchant convoys supplying the naval base on the island of Malta, and in North Africa. The Italian firm Savoia-Marchetti produced over 1,300 SM.79 bombers.

Powered by three engines, it was a low-winged aircraft, whose fuselage consisted of welded tubular steel frame, covered with aluminum alloy and plywood. It had retractable landing gear and was equipped with ten fuel tanks. Its defensive armament was composed of one 12.7-mm and two 7.7-mm Breda machine guns, and one 20-mm cannon. It had a bombload capacity of 1,200 kg of bombs or two 450-mm torpedoes.

Specifications

Type: medium bomber

Wingspan: 20.2 m

Length: 16.2 m

Height: 4.1 m

Engine: three Alfa-Romeo 128-RC-18 radial, delivering 860 hp each

Maximum speed: 460 km/h

Range: 2,600 km

Service ceiling: 7,500 m

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