Wednesday, March 11, 2015

C.A.N.S.A. FC.20

The first and only C.A.N.S.A. design planned from the outset as an operational military machine was the twin-engine FC.20. Flown for the first time in 1941 by C.A.N.S.A. test pilot Moroni, the prototype was a reconnaissance bomber powered by 840 h.p. FIAT A.74 R.C.38 radial engines. Wing area was 419.6 sq. ft. Performance of the FC.20 included a maximum speed of 292 m.p.h., a range of 807 miles, and a ceiling of 26,000 ft. However, it was decided to develop the basic design as a ground-attack machine, for which parallel studies had already been made.

The ground-attack version, the FC.20bis, appeared shortly after. In addition to a slight increase in wing area, the FC.20bis featured a shortened fuselage with the cockpit moved ahead of the wings and a 37-mm. Breda cannon mounted in the nose. Further armament consisted of a 12.7-mm. machine gun in a dorsal turret and two 12.7-mm. guns in the wing roots. A 54-mm. cannon was considered as a possible alternative to the 37-mm. weapon, but was never actually fitted. Two 352-lb. bombs could be carried beneath the wings outboard of the engine' nacelles, and 126 4.4-lb. anti-personnel bombs could be housed internally. loaded weight was 15,035 lb. Dimensions were: span 52 H. 6 in., length 39 ft. 1tt/2 in., height 12 H. 6 in., and wing area 430.4 sq. H. Maximum and cruising speeds were 261 m.p.h. and 211 m.p.h., range was 715 miles, and ceiling was 22,750 ft. The great similarity in appearance of the FC.20bis to the British Gloster F.9/37 escort fighter should be noted. Had both machines become operational, recognition problems would certainly have arisen. A further coincidence was the fact that liquid-cooled versions of both designs were also tested.

The FC.20ter, the third variant, reverted to the longer glazed nose and further-aft cockpit of the original reconnaissance model, but fitted 1000 h.p. FIAT A.80 R.CAI radial engines. The final model, the FC.20quater, was an FC.20bis fitted with Daimler-Benz DB 601 liquid-cooled engines of 1250 h.p. each (built by FIAT as the R.A:I000). Tested in 1943, the FC.20quater substituted a Mauser Ikaria 37-mm. cannon for the Breda weapon, and two 20-mm. cannon for the 12.7-mm. wing guns. loaded weight increased to 15,730 lb., speed to 311 m.p.h., and ceiling to 26,000 H., although range dropped to 578 miles. Three FC.20bis equipped the 174a Squadriglia Ricognizione Strategica based at Cerveteri in July, 1943, but were never employed operationally.

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