26 February 2019

SM.92: Second Chance for a Second Tail

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The SM.92 is a late-war Italian prototype heavy fighter, developed from the SM.91 that preceded it. Although this twin-boomed bird never got to the frontlines, Italian pilots will have a chance to thoroughly evaluate its design under combat conditions after its introduction to War Thunder with the upcoming update 1.87!

Briefly: A lightened and further developed version of the Italian SM.91 prototype heavy fighter, featuring more versatile weaponry.

History

Although the SM.91 heavy fighter had previously shown good flight characteristics, it turned out to be too heavy to effectively be used in its intended role of bomber interception. Apart from that, its top speed and climb rate was below of what had initially been demanded by the Regia Aeronautica.

Thus, the decision was made to further modify the design to address these issues. Italian engineers soon realized that the only way these issues could be solved is by decreasing the weight of the aircraft. As a result, engineers at Savoia-Marchetti redesigned the aircraft substantially.

The cockpit was moved to the left fuselage, eliminating the crew nacelle from the center wing in the process, a remote controlled turret had been integrated into the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer as well as several other changes being applied to the new design. The airframe redesign and reduced weight improved the aircraft’s flight characteristics.

Eventually, the design was considered completed and a single prototype of the SM.92 was manufactured in 1943. By this point however, the war for Italy had already been over and the SM.92 was test flown into 1944 under German insignia exclusively. During a test flight however, the prototype was mistakenly attacked by a friendly C.205 fighter, leaving the machine heavily damaged. In the end, the only prototype of the SM.92 was later on fully destroyed during an allied air raid.

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In War Thunder, the SM.92 will join the heavy fighter line at rank IV of the Italian aviation tree, with the release of the upcoming update 1.87. Unlike its predecessor, the SM.92 is slightly faster and more agile due to weight reductions and also offers a more varied armament compared to the unified cannon armament of the SM.91.

The greatest difference between the SM.91 and the new SM.92 concern flight performance. Although still a twin-engine heavy fighter, the SM.92 had its weight reduced by several hundred kilograms as a result of the removal of the center-mounted cockpit and its subsequent integration into the left fuselage. Due to this, the aircraft’s top speed has been slightly increased, going up to 615 km/h at medium altitudes, while overall maneuverability and climb rate also see some improvement.

Further differences between the SM.92 and the preceding SM.91 can be found in its armament. Unlike the plane-shredding complement of six 20mm cannons featured on the SM.91, the SM.92 offers its pilot more guns at the expense of gun caliber. In other words, the SM.92 is fitted with just three 20mm cannons and an additional four 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT heavy machine guns.

Also worth noting is the fact that all of this firepower is spread across the aircraft’s two fuselage sections, specifically the noses, and the center wing, making deflection shots slightly more tricky to pull off at times, due to the relatively large separation between the guns.

In addition to the blazing forward-facing weaponry, the rear hemisphere of the aircraft is closely guarded by a single remote-controlled heavy machine gun turret, integrated into the aircraft’s vertical stabilizer. And if all of this firepower is still not enough for some pilots, then those will be glad to hear that the SM.92 also inherits all of the secondary ordnance options from its predecessor as well.

We thank Paolo Miana from the cultural association Gli Archivi Ritrovati for their help with the SIAI-Marchetti archives and materials on SM91/92 aircraft. Without this help, War Thunder wouldn't have these unique aircraft.

The SM.92 will join the ranks of the Regia Aeronautica with the release of the upcoming update 1.87. In the meantime however, be sure to keep a watchful eye on the news for more information on the next major update coming to the game very soon. Until then, clear skies pilots!


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