Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The CR.25 prototype, built in 1939, showed a strong family resemblance to the BR.20. (3651)

Ten pre-production CR.25·s were built. One, the CR.25D, was used by the Italian Air Attache in Berlin.

The CR.25bis designation was given to the nine machines used operationally.

The CR.25 did not follow the regular series of single-engined, single-seat biplane fighters, being a larger twin-engined, three-seat escort fighter and reconnaissance monoplane bearing a general similarity in layout to the same designer's BR.20. First flown in 1939, the CR.25 employed 840 h.p. FIAT A.74 R.C. 38 fourteen- cylinder radial engines. The original prototype was among the Italian aircraft displayed at Montecelio in 1939 for the first International Congress of Aeronautical Journalists, other military types being the Breda 88, Caproni Ca 310, Piaggio P.23R, Piaggio P.50-II, Savoia Marchetti SM.75, and Savoia-Marchetti SM.85. Two prototypes were followed by ten preproduction machines, one of which was used as a transport by the Italian Air Attaché in Berlin, designated CR.25D.

The designation CR.25bis was applied to the other nine, which equipped the 173a Squadriglia Ricognizione Strategica Marittima based on Sicily from July through October, 1942. Originally intended for strategic reconnaissance, the nine CR.25bis were employed as convoy escort fighters between Sicily .and the Italian peninsula. Operational strength never exceeded six aircraft during this time, the lack of spares and replacement necessitating a short operational life for the squadron. The CR.25bis escort fighters fitted two 12.7mm. Breda-SAFAT machine guns in the nose and a third 12.7-mm. gun in a power-operated dorsal turret. The internal bomb bay, designed to house a load of 1550 lb., was normally used to accommodate extra fuel tanks. In addition to the servicing problems, the CR.25 proved to be insufficiently armed, and by October 1942, when on the average only three machines were serviceable, the type had been relegated to transport duties. The CR.25quater, flown in 1940, was a more heavily armed version with a slight increase in wing area, but the basic CR.25 design was abandoned and further development ceased.

The CR.25bis had a maximum speed of 286 m.p.h. at 18,200 ft. (prototype 304 m.p.h.), a cruising speed of 245 m.p.h.. and a landing speed of 78 m.p.h. Service ceiling was 26,57.5 ft., absolute ceiling 32,140 it., and range 9721305 miles. The prototype CR.25 climbed to 13,120 ft. in 7 min. and to 19,680 it. in 12 min. Empty and loaded weights were 8580 lb. and 13,596 lb. (CR.25bis, 9645 lb. and 14,385 lb.; CR.25quater, 9020 lb. and 14,080 lb., respectively). Dimensions of all models were: span 51 ft. 10 in., length 44 ft. 5 3/4 in., height 11 ft. 1 3/4 in., and wing area 421.8 sq. it. (CR.25quater, 430.4 sq. it.).

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