The Fiat G.50 Freccia (Arrow) is a 1930s Italian fighter developed by Fiat. It was the first Italian all-metal, single-seat low-wing fighter with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear, although the cockpit was later made open after Italian pilots requested it.
The G.50 was designed by Giuseppe Gabrielli. The construction of the first two prototypes began in summer 1936, and the first flight took place on 26 February 1937. Despite two fatal accidents during the testing, the G.50 was accepted by the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force), and entered service in early 1939.
Early G.50s were used as interceptors in the Battle of Britain from Belgian soil during 1940-1941, but the G.50 turned out to be too slow and short-ranged. Every time G.50s were sent to intercept British aircraft, the targets escaped, and G.50s did not score any kills.
In later battles over the North Africa, the Aegean Sea and Italy, improved versions of the G.50 performed better, but were still inferior to Allied fighters like the Hawker Hurricane. In the hands of and experienced pilot, however, the G.50 could be a formidable foe. At the start of the Sicilian Campaign, the G.50 was the most common fighter opposing the Allies, but by the time Italy signed an armitice with the Allies in September 1943, only a small number of G.50s was still flyable. Germany confiscated some of them, using them as trainers.
The Finnish Air Force bought 35 G.50s in late 1939. Two were lost on the way, the others were delivered from February 1939 onwards and used in the Winter War and the Continuation War against the Soviet Union. The G.50s were effective at the start of the Continuation War in 1941, but later the introduction of new Soviet fighters and the lack of spare parts reduced their effectiveness. Still, they were claimed to have achieved a kill/loss ratio of 33:1, which would make the G.50 the most successful FAF fighter type during World War II. G.50s were retired from combat in early 1944 and used as trainers until 1946.
The Croatian Air Force Legion received 10 G.50s from Italy in 1942 and about 20 from Germany in September 1943. They were used mainly for fighting with Yugoslavian partisans until 1945. After the war the Yugoslav Air Force briefly used some of them.
The G.50 was regarded as sturdy and highly agile, but underpowered and underarmed.
- G.50 – Original production version.
- G.50 – Larger fuel tanks for longer range. 421 built.
- G.50bis/A – Carrier variant. One built.
- G.50ter – New 1,000 hp Fiat A.76 engine. One built.
- G.50V – Daimler-Benz DB 601 V12 engine. One built.
- G.50bis A/N – Two-seat fighter bomber. One built.
- G.50B – Two-seat trainer. 100 built.
- G.51 – Production version of the G.50V. Not built.
- G.52 – Fiat A.75 R.C.53 engine. Not built.
- Croatian Air Force and Croatian Air Force Legion – 30+
- Finnish Air Force – 33
- Regia Aeronautica & Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana
- Spanish Air Force
- Yugoslav Air Force
Surviving example Edit
- Only one G.50 survives: a G.50bis at the Aeronautical Museum Belgrade in Serbia.
Specifications (G.50) Edit
- Crew: 1
- Length: 8.01 m (26 ft 3 in)
- Wingspan: 10.99 m (36 ft 1 in)
- Height: 3.28 m (10 ft 9 in)
- Wing area: 18.25 m2 (196.4 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 1,963 kg (4,328 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 2,402 kg (5,296 lb)
- Powerplant: × Fiat A.74 R.C.38 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 649 kW (870 hp), 3-bladed Hamilton Standard-Fiat constant-speed propeller
- Maximum speed: 470 km/h (290 mph, 250 kn) at 5,000 m (16,404 ft)
- Range: 445 km (277 mi, 240 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 10,700 m (35,100 ft)
- Time to altitude: 5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 6 minutes 3 seconds
- Armament: 2 × 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns