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Savoia-Marchetti SM-96 II

Skybolt

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Another never-heard-of (and never-seen) from my sunny (and rainy and snowy) country. This project is the second instance of use of the SM-96 designation (internal only, as far as I've been able to ascertain). The first was an SM-95 derivative from late-42. There was a third, but those two are other stories. The project I call SM-96 II is a strict derivative of the SM-93 (wing, landing gear and aft part of the fuselage are clones of the 93's ones). Reasoning from this, I can suppose with some ground that the SM-96 too was of completely wooden construction, apart the engine supports. While the SM-93 was an experimental dive-bomber and ground-attach aircraft, this one is very probably a fighter, heavily armed (I can spot at least four 20 mm guns and two 12,7 SAFAT machine-guns, plus maybe another gun in the engine main shaft, but this is controversial for a reason I'll explain in a few lines). I don't think it s a ground-attack and/or dive bomber for the position of the cockpit. REGIA documents prescribed for dive attack the possibility for the pilot to aim with a certain advance before entering the dive, and this would be impossible from that cockpit location. BTW, the reason for putting the cockpit so aft is probably due to the need to make room for something in front. Two guns are there, plus possibly another, but the main candidate is the engine. And here comes the main mistery. I personaly feel that the drawing it's not detailed, and so it doesn't have the exhausts of the engine. The shape of the forward fuselage and of the engine front cowling could be related with some experimental cowling I saw in Guidonia's documents for air-cooled inline engines and for a bulbous engine. An Isotta Fraschini Zeta comes to mind, and it would make sense since the aircraft used non-strategic materials. The Sm-96 II could have been (for a very short time, drawing is from August 8th 1943) an "heavy" counterpart of the SAI-Ambosini 403 Dardo, the wooden light fighter with another autarchic engine , an IF Delta IV. This is just an hypothesis, with a strong point (Savoia Marchetti was to produce 600 Dardos), and a weak point: there is no proof that the Zeta was still intended for mass production in August 1943. Some sources give it as still in development at the armistice eve (a month later), but....
Anyway, enjoy, and think how much there is still out there, above and beyond lmyths like "Italian jet fighters" (little personal polemics, forget it).
Uh, forgot, before you ask: no side view (I doubt it survived, only one copy of the drawings I post have reached us).
 

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lark

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The coming Italian Secret Projects book will be a treasure chamber
Thanks for the appetizer :p
 

airman

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lark said:
The coming Italian Secret Projects book will be a treasure chamber
Thanks for the appetizer :p

I hope so in this "coming Italian Secret Projects" book ! :p :p
 

Jemiba

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Up to the rear edge of the canopy, I think a reconstruction can reach about 80%
accuracy, using the given front and plan view. Behind the canopy, there's more
guessing, of course, although the vertical position of the tail plane should indicate
the position of the tail cone quite exact.
I would think, source grade 2 for this side view at best !
 

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Skybolt

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Jens, great job as usual. Maybe the engine canopy was a little arcuated but, who knows ? I attach a side view of the SM-93 tail that may help.
 

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Jemiba

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Thanks, I've modified fin and rudder. The contour of the engine cowling is more
difficult, as it is somewhat determined by the guns and its apertures, I think.
But with deeper troughs for the barrels, the cowling can well be more rounded.
 

Pepe Rezende

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Jemiba said:
Up to the rear edge of the canopy, I think a reconstruction can reach about 80%
accuracy, using the given front and plan view. Behind the canopy, there's more
guessing, of course, although the vertical position of the tail plane should indicate
the position of the tail cone quite exact.
I would think, source grade 2 for this side view at best !

I bet for a cockpit similar to MC.202 or Re2002 one.
 

red admiral

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Thanks for this little gem again, totally unexpected for me from Savoia-Marchetti.

To me, it doesn't look anything like the cowlings on other aircraft that had the Zeta engine. The F.6Z springing to mind the most. Admittedly there isn't much detail around the engine but it looks much more like a close cowled radial or an annular radiator. Maybe a DB 603? The fuselage doesn't seem that wide so I wouldn't expect a radial.
 

smurf

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That's a thought. There don't seem to be any radiators otherwise.
 

Skybolt

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DB-603 was one of the candidates I considered, since it is known (well, by myself, at least ;) ) that the 603 was positively prospected for use in the follow-on, second series of SM-91 and maybe SM-92. I rejected it because: 1) no signs of radiators in the drawing 2) non-strategic material design were all Italian-engined, with the notable exception of the Ca-380 Corsaro, but there the idea was for a clone of the Mosquito, in the lines of TA-154, and the performance needed the DBs. The same as for the DB 603 AND 605 could be said of the autarchic liquid-cooled inlnes from the Caproni Group, the IF L.180 and Reggiane Re 103-104 and 105 (they were in funded development in 1943). Another in-line air-cooled candidate I considered was the IF Sigma, but it was no more than an evolved version of the Zeta, much less advanced in development, AND the Zeta was candidated for engineing the SM-91 for a while, so Marchetti had all the documentation it needed (documentation for engines were in very short supply. To have a DB-605 and detailed drawings for the SM-91 Marchetti had to wait for a couple of months...). The other IF engine (Delta IV) was too low-powered, even though it ws even considered for the Corsaro.... Radials: the only actively pursued radials by then were Piaggios and Alfas (FIAT A.84RC42S notwhitstanding) . Later Marchetti studied a radial-powered SM-93, but the cowling and installation were totally different (and it wasn't a fighter, all new Italian fighter projects were in-line since 1940). I excluded the more exotic alternatives, unsuitable both from a development stage, intended installation targets and size issues (Alfa 1101, FIAT A 40 and A 44).
Cowling: yes, since it was an experimental one. Marchetti designed an annular radiator for an early version of the SM-91, but it was quickly abandoned. Moreover, it was totally different. And BTW, the SM-96 II was forgotten in a month time.... SM-96 III was another aircraft entirely.
Cockpit: mmmm, more probably like the SM-92 front seat. But I doubt they ever reached that level of detail design.
All in all, I think the Zeta is the most likely candidate.
 

Maveric

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Skybolt said:
Another never-heard-of (and never-seen) from my sunny (and rainy and snowy) country. This project is the second instance of use of the SM-96 designation (internal only, as far as I've been able to ascertain). The first was an SM-95 derivative from late-42. There was a third, but those two are other stories. The project I call SM-96 II is a strict derivative of the SM-93 (wing, landing gear and aft part of the fuselage are clones of the 93's ones). Reasoning from this, I can suppose with some ground that the SM-96 too was of completely wooden construction, apart the engine supports. While the SM-93 was an experimental dive-bomber and ground-attach aircraft, this one is very probably a fighter, heavily armed (I can spot at least four 20 mm guns and two 12,7 SAFAT machine-guns, plus maybe another gun in the engine main shaft, but this is controversial for a reason I'll explain in a few lines). I don't think it s a ground-attack and/or dive bomber for the position of the cockpit. REGIA documents prescribed for dive attack the possibility for the pilot to aim with a certain advance before entering the dive, and this would be impossible from that cockpit location. BTW, the reason for putting the cockpit so aft is probably due to the need to make room for something in front. Two guns are there, plus possibly another, but the main candidate is the engine. And here comes the main mistery. I personaly feel that the drawing it's not detailed, and so it doesn't have the exhausts of the engine. The shape of the forward fuselage and of the engine front cowling could be related with some experimental cowling I saw in Guidonia's documents for air-cooled inline engines and for a bulbous engine. An Isotta Fraschini Zeta comes to mind, and it would make sense since the aircraft used non-strategic materials. The Sm-96 II could have been (for a very short time, drawing is from August 8th 1943) an "heavy" counterpart of the SAI-Ambosini 403 Dardo, the wooden light fighter with another autarchic engine , an IF Delta IV. This is just an hypothesis, with a strong point (Savoia Marchetti was to produce 600 Dardos), and a weak point: there is no proof that the Zeta was still intended for mass production in August 1943. Some sources give it as still in development at the armistice eve (a month later), but....
Anyway, enjoy, and think how much there is still out there, above and beyond lmyths like "Italian jet fighters" (little personal polemics, forget it).
Uh, forgot, before you ask: no side view (I doubt it survived, only one copy of the drawings I post have reached us).

Hi Skybolt,
can you post also the first S.M.96?
 

Skybolt

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Well, folks, engine issue resolved in the most definitive of the ways. Guess which ?
 

Grey Havoc

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Skybolt said:
Well, folks, engine issue resolved in the most definitive of the ways. Guess which ?

You found a long lost prototype? ;)
 

Skybolt

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No, just a dusty drawing of the tunnel model, complete with data... I completely forgot to have it. Now, guess the engine ?
 

Skybolt

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No, an all-Italian one, and surprising, too (I'd had done my homework better... really verifying the development status of some engine before excluding it).
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5117.0.html

I can see why you were surprised. Looks like they went for broke with the choice of engine.
 

Skybolt

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I was surprised because the 1101 was specifically designed for fuselage installations and/or for multi-engine applications. It was a very long engine, so I was surprised to see it in a traditional (nose) installation. BTW, with this discovery (applause, please), the number of designs to use the Alfa 1101 is now three: MCT, Alfa 1902 and SM-96 II (the suffix is mine, the design was the second one sporting that designation). You'll have to wait for the side view (now I have it...), 'cause the drawing is very large and very brittle, so I have to take it to a service shop to digitize it.
 

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