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Savoia-Marchetti 79 Sparviero

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With its robust tri-motor shape and extensive fabric covering, the Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79 Sparviero was very much a creature of the 1930s. Designed for a long distance air race, it became famous as Italy's most successful bomber. Contrary to wartime propaganda, its British and American foes found the Sparviero an effective and very tough adversary that proved difficult to shoot down.

Before war clouds loomed, Italy's brilliant Alessandro Marchetti proposed the high-speed, eight-passenger S.M.79 for an England-Australia air race. Too late for this event, the S.M.79 racked up other long-distance records. A twin-engine 'no-frills' version was quite advanced when delivered to Romania (which also produced it), Brazil and Iraq.

Italian pilots flew S.M.79 bombers with success in the Spanish Civil War and they were to repear the success in World War II. Well-armed and carrying a respectable payload, the S.M.79 made plenty of trouble for the Allies. Given Italy's reputation in torpedo warfare, the Sparviero (Sparrow) inevitably served as a potent torpedo bomber.

The Sparviero was a great aircraft which never reached full potential because Allied bombing of Italy disrupted supplies and production. Ethyl injection improved the performance of the Sparviero's engines but wore them out, leaving most of them unserviceable by the time the Allies invaded Sicily in 1943. A few Sparvieri survived the war as transports but this was an aircraft whose time came and went quickly.


Savoia-Marchetti 79 Sparviero

Savoia-Marchetti 79 Sparviero Savoia-Marchetti 79 Sparviero a torpedo bomber Three-engined 'Hunchback' for Savoia-Marchetti 79 Sparviero
After the Armistice in 1943, the Luftwaffe took over all the S.M.79s using them mainly as transport aircraft. The Sparviero delivering highly effective blows against British shipping in the Mediterranean in daring torpedo attacls. Italy's lack of suitable powerplants led to the three-engined configuration, which aided survival in combat conditions.

Savoia-Marchetti 79 Sparviero (Technical Specification)
Role Four/five crew medium bomber and torpedo-bomber
Manufacturer Savoia-Marchetti
Maximum Speed 430 kmh (267 mph)
Maximum Range 1,900 km (1,178 mph)
Ceiling 6,500 meters (21,000 feet)
Loaded weight

6,800 kg (14,960 lbs)
10,500 kg (23,100 lbs)
Wing Area

21.20 meters (69 ft 6 in)
15.60 meters (51 ft 2 in)
4.60 meters (15 ft)
61.70 square meters (664 sq ft)
Engines Three Alfa Romeo 126 RC.34 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines each providing 582-kW (780 hp)
Armament One 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) machine gun firing forward over the cabin roof
12.7 mm guns in dorsal and ventral positions
One 7.7 mm (0.303 cal) machine-gun for beam defence
Five 250 kgs (550 lbs) bombs or
One 45 cm (18 in) naval torpedo

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Savoia Marchetti SM 79 bomber 193^ Sq. 87° Gr. 30°St. Sicily 1941. Model...

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