Lombarda AR / Assalto Radioguidato
With Italy's entry into World War II, the forces were facing the fleet of British Royal Navy. To meet the operational threat, the ARP (Aircraft Radio Piloted) program was conceived, proposed by engineer and official of the RA, Ferdinando Raffaelli .
The project consisted in the adaptation of older three-engine Savoia-Marchetti SM79 bombers, equipping them with radio remote control which, abandoned by the crew with parachutes, was remotely piloted from a second aircraft following him, designated plane "P" (Pilot).
The ARP was used experimentally on 12 August 1942 , during the battle of mid-August , however during the flight a transmitter system failure occurred at P causing the loss of control of the bomber who, exhausted the fuel , crashed into the mountains of' Algeria .
Despite the failure, the weapon system continued to enjoy the confidence of the military leaders who advised the development, with the request to abandon the use of large aircraft in favor of an aircraft specially designed for this purpose. Given the certainty of the loss of the equipment during the action, the specifications included using simple construction materials as possible strategic choice would limit the costs of implementation.
Lombard Aviation was contacted and in November 1942 was entered into a contract for the supply of a prototype and five copies amounting to £ 4,200,000. The project was designed and developed by engineers Ermenegildo Preti and Stelio Frati . In accordance with the specifications, the aircraft was simplicity, a single-engine monoplane wing, mainly wooden except in some details, the surfaces of the wings , the landing gear. The engine was based a Fiat A. 80 RC.41 radial from 1 000 hp (735 kW), surplus coming from the twin-engine Fiat BR20 .
The prototype , serial MM.75576 ??characterized by double-cockpit, and fixed landing gear, was flown for the first time on 13 June 1943 by test pilot Valzania from Venegono airfield. Subsequent tests confirmed the overall performance which proved better than anticipated. After the prototype was transferred to flight are the Upper Management Studies and Experiences of Guidonia for continued flight tests, the supply order was confirmed and then started mass production.
The pre-series aircraft, which was assigned the MM.75577, was completed in August 1943. The military authorities in Germany suspended the program and subsequently cancelled it. The five examples are all destroyed.
At the end of the conflict among documents confiscated by the Allies of World War II and returned to the Italian Government, was found a plan that reported a composition between an AR and a fighter Macchi MC202 similar to the configuration of the type Mistel developed by the Luftwaffe .
The aircraft was characterized by a structure made entirely of wood, with a fuselage cross-section oval sloping to tail, made a series of frames and panels covered with current heavy plywood , with a simple, basic cockpit, closed by a dome accessible through a trap door on the bottom and allowed the pilot to escape.
The integrated structure of the tank of fuel on the capacity of 700 L and the load compartment, respectively, positioned behind and below the passenger compartment near the center of gravity, the latter incorporating the two side by side attachment points for bombs to be dropped from 1000 kg.
The two spar monoplane wing tapering at the ends and with marked dihedral, ailerons, and no flaps.
The undercarriage was fixed, releasable by the pilot after take-off, that could be recovered and reused.
The power was provided by a 1000 hp (735 kW) Fiat A.80 RC.41, radial 18-cylinder twin row air-cooled with gearbox to cruise at 4100 m. The engine was enclosed in an NACA cowling, with a three-blade propeller.
The only offensive weapons were 1000 kg each.
Aeronautica Lombarda AR
Length: 14.10 m
Wingspan: 8.20 m
Height: 3.22 m
Fuel Capacity: 700 lt
Engine: 1 x Fiat A.80 RC.41, 1 000 hp (735 kW )
Armament: 2 x 1 000 kg Bombs