Aeritalia G91

TYPE: Light strike fighter

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Italy

POWERPLANT: G91Y - Two 12.1kN (2720lb) dry and 18.2kN (4080lb) afterburning General Electric J85-GE-13A turbojets.

PERFORMANCE: G91Y - Max speed 1038km/h (560kt) at 30,000ft and 1110km/h (600kt) at sea level. Cruising speed 800km/h (432kt) at 30,000ft. Max initial rate of climb 17,000ft/min.Time to 40,000ft 4min 30sec. Service ceiling 41,000ft. Typical combat radius on a lo-lo-lo attack mission with a 1320kg (2910lb) payload 600km (325nm). Ferry range with drop tanks 3500km (1890nm).

WEIGHTS: G91Y - Empty equipped 3900kg (8598lb), max takeoff 8700kg (19,180lb).

DIMENSIONS: G91Y - Wing span 9.01m (29ft 7in), length 11.67m (38ft 4in), height 4.43m (14ft 6in). Wing area 18.1m2 (195.2sq ft).

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only, except G91T which seats two in tandem.

ARMAMENT: G91Y - Two 30mm DEFA 532 cannon with 125 rounds per gun mounted in the forward fuselage. Disposable payload of up to 1815kg (4000lb), including Sidewinder AAMs, bombs and rockets.

OPERATORS: Italy

HISTORY: The Fiat G91 was the result of an early 1950s design contest to produce a light attack fighter for NATO member countries.

Eight European companies responded to the 1953 NATO requirement to yield a light strike aircraft that was not reliant upon lengthy concrete runways. The winner of the competition was Fiat with its G91, which was designed by Giuseppe Gabrielli, although this decision was not made until 1957 when the prototype had been evaluated against three French contenders. The G91's first flight had earlier occurred on August 9 1956.

Although the single Bristol Orpheus powered G91 was selected as the clear winner of the design contest, interest in the concept had waned and the aircraft did not see the widespread European NATO service envisioned for it. Italy took delivery of the first production G91s (armed with four 12.7mm/0.5in Colt-Browning machine guns) in 1958.

Numerous variants followed including the G91R/1 reconnaissance variant with a suite of cameras mounted in a shortened nose. The G91R/1A had improved navaids and the 1B strengthened undercarriage. The G91R/3 meanwhile was similar but developed for the West German Air Force and built under licence in that country, some of which were later acquired by Portugal. It was equipped with a Doppler radar and twin 30mm cannon. The final single seat G91R variant was the G91R/4, it was similar to the German G91/R3 but had the original R/1 armament and some minor equipment changes.

The G91T was the two seat trainer version. It featured a lengthened forward fuselage to accommodate the extra cockpit, and retained the single sealer's combat capability.

The ultimate expression of the G91 line was the G91Y. The result of a 1965 Italian requirement, the Yankee as its dubbed, differed in having two General Electric J85 turbojets mounted side by side in a revised fuselage, increasing total thrust by 60% and thus greatly improving performance. Only 67 were built, with Italy the only customer. The G91Y was retired from frontline service in early 1995.

 

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