Fiat CR.25

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In January 1937, Fascist Italy tried catching up technologically, especially compared to its German partner was booming. And military aviation is no exception to this vast project. That is why the staff will order the manufacturer Fiat to design a heavy twin-engine fighter with secondary capabilities of bombing and reconnaissance.

Turin The manufacturer turned to a very traditional orientation, ie first design a light bomber and change later in hunter. It's Celestino Rosatelli engineer who was in charge of the program.

He decided to draw a very conventional aircraft for its time, and so he presented the prototype barely five months after the signing of the agreement between Fiat and fascist state. The aircraft received the designation CR-25 (CR as initial engineering), but was not baptized.

He then was a twin-engine low-wing cantilever designed for two crew members. The pilot took place in a vast front cockpit while his gunner had a glass tower in the back on the top of the plane. The CR-25 was powered by two Fiat A74-RC-38 with a power of 840 horses causing a three-bladed propeller. Featuring a canvas metal structure, it had a retractable undercarriage. Tailwheel had the distinction of being streamlined, like that of the biplane fighter CR-42. Two prototypes were assembled under the names of CR-25 and CR-25bis, whose differences mainly concerned the armament and some minor equipment. The first prototype realized its first flight 22 July 1937.

However it was the CR-25bis, which was commissioned in the Regia Aeronautica series by, up to ten copies of series and an eleventh disarmed for transporting the Italian Marshal Italo Balbo, then undisputed boss of the Italian Air Force. However Balbo did not seem so confident in this twin-engine, so it was eventually donated to the Italian Embassy in Berlin as aircraft servitude. This CR-25 personality transportation received the designation CR-25D.

Balbo quickly disaffection for this aircraft ruined Fiat hopes to sustainably position the CR-25 in fascist fighter units.

In the end, 11 CR-25bis, the second prototype and ten production aircraft, were delivered to the Regia Aeronautica that affected them at 173 ° Squadriglia, a fighter unit and escort specially fitted for them. A twelfth aircraft joined them, the first prototype, which was then handed one of the day reconnaissance and advanced training.

The pilots and crew of 173 ° Squadriglia nevertheless appreciated their heavy fighters, who despite some underpowered, had the reputation of many steering forgive mistakes. The CR-25 flew mainly escorting bomber fleets and Italian reconnaissance aircraft.

When they were removed from service in February 1943, just two planes, with the first prototype had been lost on a mission. Proof that this aircraft was not nearly as bad as thought that Italo Balbo. Both in design and in its implementation, the CR-25 is significantly closer to the Bristol Blenheim Mk-I (F) while serving in the RAF. Unlike the British aircraft, it was never suitable for the bombing. The CR-25 was the last military aircraft designed by Rosatelli for Fiat needs.

Specifications : 

Crew: two or three   
Origin : Italiy
Length: 13.56 m 
Wingspan: 16 m 
Height: 3.30 m 
Wing area: 39.20 m² 
Empty weight: 4475 kg
Loaded weight: 6,625 kg 
Engine: 2 × Fiat A.74 RC-38, 627 kW (
Max speed: 450 km / h 
Range: 1,500 km 
Flight ceiling: 7950 m 

Armament with Machine guns: 3 × Breda-Safat 12.7 mm gate (.5 in)
and bombs: 300 kg (660 lb)

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