Macchi C.202 Folgore (Thunderbolt)

The Macchi C.202 Folgore (Thunderbolt) was an Italian fighter aircraft developed during the World War II. It was built by Macchi Aeronautica. It was less known outside Italy but was the best plane of the Regia Aeronautica, i.e, Italian Air Force, during the conflict. The Folgore showed that Italy can design and build such a world-class fighter plane. It was based on the earlier C.200 Saeta (Thunderbolt).

To create the Folgore, Macchi adapted the Saeta airframe to the Daimler-Benz DB 601 liquid-cooled engine. It was produced under the license of the Alfa Romeo RA 1000 RC 411. As a result the produced C.202 was around 97 kph faster than its predecessor and was used two months after Italy’s entry into World War II. The Folgore was a low wing monoplane with inward retracting landing gear. It also has an armament of two 12.7mm Breda- SAFAT machine-guns in the nose and also the provision for two 7.7mm guns in the wings. Macchi C.202 Folgore’s inline engine had clean aerodynamics which provided dive speeds high enough for pilots. The aircraft underwent a very little change and development during its life span. It proved to be a high performance aircraft but was under-gunned and was slightly inferior to American fighters.

The deliveries of the first production aircraft started in 1941 and by the end of the year the C.202 was deployed to Libya. It gave limited services on the Eastern Front; also its victory to loss ratio from 1941 to 1943 was 88 to 15 respectively. After the year 1943, the aircraft was used as a trainer in the Italian Social Republic. By 1944, the use of Folgore was almost over but some survived and were used by the Egyptian Air Force until 1951.

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Crew: One
Length: 8.85 m (29 ft 0.5 in)
Wingspan: 70.01ft (21.34m)
Height: 3.49 m (11 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 16.82 m² (181.04 ft²)
Max Speed: 600 km/h (324 knots, 372 mph) at 5,600 m (18,370 ft)
Max Range: 765 km (413 nm, 475 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 18.1 m/s (3,563 ft/min)
Ceiling: 11,500 m (37,730 ft)
Empty weight: 2,491 kg (5,492 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 2,930 kg (6,460 lb)
Power plant: 1x Daimler-Benz DB 601(Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 R.C.41I / R.C.44I) liquid-cooled supercharged inverted V-12, 1,175 hp (864 kW) at 2,500 rpm for takeoff.
Armament: 2x 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in the engine cowling, 360/400 rounds/gun, 2x 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in the wings, 500 rounds/gun, 2x 50, 100, or 160 kg (110, 220, or 350 lb) bombs, 2x 100 L (26.4 US gal; 22.0 imp gal) drop tanks