Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning)

The Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) was an Italian fighter aircraft developed when Italy entered the Second World War. It was a single seat fighter plane created by Dr Mario Castoldi, chief designer of the Aeronautica Macchi Company. The Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) was the first Italian design to have a cantilever low-wing monoplane with fully retractable main landing gear.

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The Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) was the result of the great need of the Italian Air in expansion of modern warplanes. The need for the Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) was based on this idea. One of the features of the Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) is the engine’s low-chord cowling with a ring of raised fairings over the rocker arm covers. It fulfilled an Italian Air Force need for a new generation of piston-engine fighters to fill the ranks of the Regia Aeronautica. Initially, the plane experienced a few problems such as low power, low endurance, but the most dangerous was the tendency to stall at high elevation due to the wings avionics.

Apart from actions in North Africa, the Macchi MC.200 Saetta (Lightning) saw combat in the Soviet Union, Malta and Greece. The design survived throughout the war but was outclassed through much of it. It experienced some major problems during the war due to which it was outclassed. In the last few months of the war, the Mc.200 was used against the Allied landings in southern Italy. In September, 1943 of the originally produced 1,153 Mc.200, only less than 100 were left.



Crew: One
Length: 8.25 m (27 ft 1 in)
Wingspan: 10.58 m (34 ft 8 in)
Height: 3.05 m (10 ft 0 in)
Wing area: 16.82 m² (181.00 ft²)
Max Speed: 504 km/h (313 mph) at 4,500 m (14,765 ft)
Range: 570 km (354 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 15.3 m/s (3,030 ft/min)
Ceiling: 8,900 m (29,200 ft)
Empty weight: 1,964 kg (4,330 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 2,395 kg (5,280 lb)
Loaded weight: 2,200 kg (4,840 lb)
Wing loading: 131.7 kg/m² (26.9 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.286 kW/kg (0.176 hp/lb)
Power plant: 1x Fiat A.74 R.C.38 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 650 kW (870 hp) at 2,520 rpm for takeoff
Armament: 2x 12.7 mm (.5 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns, 370 rpg. Some aircraft were field-modified to carry up to 8 x 15 kg (33 lb) or 2 x 50, 100, or 150 kg (110, 220, or 330 lb) bombs under the wings.