Breda Ba.88 Lince
Initially, the prototype (MM.302) was flown with a single fin and rudder assembly, but poor stability necessitated the adoption of a rather cumbersome twin fin and rudder arrangement which marred the Ba 88s otherwise good aerodynamic form. The 1936 prototype was powered by two 900-h.p. Isotta-Fraschini K.14 radials and was one of the fastest aircraft in its class at the time of its appearance. A hybrid structure with stressed metal skin, shoulder-wing monoplane, the Lince had a structure of steel tube with a light metal outer skin.
Modified in 1937, the Breda Ba 88 Lince prototype, in December of that year, established several international records (with a load of 2,205 lb. flying 62 miles (100 km.) at 344.5 mph, and 621 miles (1,000 km.) at 326.3 mph).
Production orders for the Ba 88 were placed for the Regia Aeronautica and assembly lines were established by both Breda and 1.M.A.M. (Meridionali) with deliveries commencing late in 1938.
Regarded as an aeroplano di combattimento, suitable for attack, long-range reconnaissance or bombing operations, the Ba.88 then had its military equipment and weapons installed. Immediately, performance and flight characteristics fell off dramatically, but by then production orders were already in place. Bombs could be carried either in a bomb bay or semi-externally in recesses under the belly, and the Ba.88 could carry a 1000kg bomb load and four machine guns, three firing forward and a flexible gun in the rear cockpit. A window in the floor aided the pilot in aiming the bombs.
The production version featured considerable redesign and was powered by two 1,0000h.p. Piaggio P.XI R.C.40 radials which provided a maximum speed of 304 mph. Eight Ba.88 bicomando two-seat trainer version were built, with a raised instructor's seat.
The first unit to receive the Ba 88 was the 7th Gruppo, which arrived in North Africa in September 1940.
On 16 June 1940, just after Italy's declaration of war on France and her allies, the twelve Ba.88 aircraft from the Regia Aeronautica's 19° Gruppo Autonomo made bombing and machine-gun attacks on the principal airfields of Corsica; three days later nine Ba.88s made a repeat attack. Analysis of these operations showed that the Ba,88 had only limited value, and any remaining doubts were settled when Ba.88s of the 7° Gruppo Autonomo joined action in Libya against the British. Fitted with sand filters, the engines overheated and failed to deliver their designed power. Attacks on targets at Sidi Barram had to be aborted in September 1940, the aircraft failing to gain sufficient altitude or maintain formation, and reaching a speed less than half that claimed by the manufacturers. The Ba 88 being taken out of production after only 105 aircraft had been built. Eighty-one by Breda and twenty-four by IMAM Meridionali.
In 1938 a Ba.88 bis was proposed with two Alfa Romeo 135 engines for the Caccia Combattimento competiton. It was not proceeded with.
By mid-November 1940 most surviving Ba.88s had been stripped of useful equipment and were scattered around operational airfields as decoys for attacking British aircraft.
In 1941 Agusta substituted two 840-h.p. Fiat A.74 R.C.38 radials for the Piaggios, increased wing span by 2.00m and fuselage length, and began the construction of a small series under the designation Ba 88M as ground-attack aircraft. Nose armament was increased to four 12.7mm machine-guns, and dive brakes were installed. Only three aircraft of this type were completed. These Breda Ba.88Ms were delivered to the 103° Gruppo Autonomo Tuffatori (independent dive-bombing group) at Lonate Pozzolo on 7 September 1943. They were flight-tested by Luftwaffe pilots, but that was the last heard of the Breda Ba.88.
A total of 149 were built.
Breda Ba.88 Lince
Engine: 2 x Piaggio P.XI RC 40, 986 hp
Length: 35.4 ft / 10.79 m
Height: 10.171 ft / 3.1 m
Wingspan: 51.181 ft / 15.6 m
Wing area: 358.872 sq.ft / 33.34 sq.m
Max take off weight: 14883.8 lb / 6750.0 kg
Weight empty: 10253.3 lb / 4650.0 kg
Max. speed: 265 kts / 490 km/h
Service ceiling: 26247 ft / 8000 m
Wing load: 41.41 lb/sq.ft / 202.0 kg/sq.m
Range: 871 nm / 1614 km
Armament: 3x MG 12,7mm BredaSAFAT, 1x MG 7,7mm Breda SAFAT, 1000kg Bomb. int. / 3x200kg Bomb. ext.