The Macchi MC.202 Folgore

(Thunderbolt)

Italy
Italy

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

The Macchi MC.200 had a great airframe, but it's engine lacked the power. This was soon realised by Macchi, who decided to fit it with a license built Baimler-Benz DB 601A inverted-Vee, called Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 Monsoni. This simple move made sure that the MC.200, now redesignated MC.202, would enter the history as one of the finest Italian fighters of World War 2.

Version list:

Further pictures:

Macchi MC.202 Folgore standing on an airfield. Clear view of the engine (DB 601A)
Macchi MC.202 Folgore standing on an airfield. Clear view of the engine (DB 601A)

Macchi MC.202 Folgore standing on an airfield. Good side view and on cockpit canopy
Macchi MC.202 Folgore standing on an airfield. Good side view and on cockpit canopy

Macchi MC.202 Folgore standing on an airfield, showing the engine up close
Macchi MC.202 Folgore standing on an airfield, showing the engine up close

Macchi MC.202 Folgore suspended from the ceiling of the National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
Macchi MC.202 Folgore suspended from the ceiling of the National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC

 

Technical data on the Macchi MC.202 Serie XI Folgore
Powerplant 1 × Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 RC.41-I Monsoni inverted-Vee, rated at 1075 hp (801.4 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
Length 29 ft 0.5 inch Height 9 ft 11.5 inch
Empty weight 5545 lb Operational weight 6459 lb typical,
6768 lb max
Wing Span 34 ft 8.5 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.66
Wing Area 180.83 sq ft Service ceiling 37730 ft
Maximum speed 372 mph at 18370 ft Cruising speed 267 mph at 21320 ft
Initial climb rate Climb to 16,405 ft in 4 min 4 sec Range 475 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal 77 Imp gal (93 US gal) plus provision for 18 Imp gal (21 US gal) of auxiliairy fuel in a fuselage tank Fuel capacity external Up to 44 Imp gal (53 US gal) in 2 × 22 Imp gal (26 US gal) drop tanks
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.50 inch Breda-SAFAT fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 400 rounds each
  • 2 × 0.303 inch Breda-SAFAT fixed forwrad-firing in the wing leading edges, 500 rounds each
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 705 lb, carried on two underwing hardpoints, rated 352 lb each. General disposables load consisted of: 2 × 352 lb, 220 lb, or 110 lb bombs Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 10 August 1940 Operational Service Summer 1941 - Late 1940's
Manufacturer Aeronautica Macchi S.p.A. Number produced About 1.200 total, unkown number this version
Metric system
Length 8.85 m Height 3.04 m
Empty weight 2515 kg Operational weight 2930 kg typical,
3070 kg max
Wing Span 10.58 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.66
Wing Area 16.8 m² Service ceiling 11500 m
Maximum speed 599 km/h at 5599 m Cruising speed 430 km/h at 6498 m
Initial climb rate Climb to 5.000 m in 4 min 4 sec Range 764 km typical
Fuel capacity internal 350 liters plus provision for 80 liters of auxiliairy fuel in a fuselage tank Fuel capacity external Up to 200 liters in 2 × 100 liters drop tanks
Machine guns
  • 2 × 12,7 mm Breda-SAFAT fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 400 rounds each
  • 2 × 7,7 mm Breda-SAFAT fixed forwrad-firing in the wing leading edges, 500 rounds each
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 320 kg, carried on two underwing hardpoints, rated 160 kg each. General disposables load consisted of: 2 × 160 kg, 100 kg, or 50 kg bombs Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Macchi MC.202  Folgore
Macchi MC.202 Folgore This fine fighter was the result from mating the underpowered Macchi MC.200 Saetta with the Daimler-Benz DB 601A inverted-Vee engine. The extra power, and the slimmer forefront (less drag) improved the performance of the fighter drastically.
Production of the Folgore was undertaken in a number of series, each concerning a couple of changes. However, at the moment I lack the knowledge about these series.
The first series were only armed with 2 × 0.50 inch Breda-SAFAT guns in the nose. Starting from Series VI armament was increased with 2 × 0.303 inch (7,7 mm) Breda-SAFAT guns in the wings.
Starting from Series XI underwing hardpoints were added to carry either bombs or drop tanks.
An unknown Series had 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in underwing gondolas.
Number built: about 1.200
Macchi MC.202AS Folgore Conversion from the MC.202 Folgore for use in the North African Theatre (AS = Africa Settentroniale, or North Africa). Amongst others it had a dust filter fitted over the carburetor air inlet.
Number converted: unknown
Macchi MC.202CB Folgore Conversion from the MC.202 Folgore for use as a fighter-bomber (CB = Caccia Bombardiere, or Fighter-Bomber). It was fitted with underwing hardpoints for light bombs or drop tanks.
Number converted: unknown

Operational remarks:

The MC.202 first saw combat in North Africa, the Western Desert, Sicily, the Mediterranean Theatre, the Balkans, and the Eastern Front.
When used against Allied aircraft, it proved superior to the Hawker Hurricane and Curtiss P-40 in air-to-air combat. It was slightly inferior to the best Allied fighters, however. After the southern part of Italy capitulated to the Allied forces, some Folgores served on Allied side.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/23/01