CANT Z.1007 Alcione

1st Flight 1937

The CANT Z.1007 Alcione was an Italian three engined medium bomber with wooden structure.

Designed by Filippo Zappata, who also designed the CANT Z.506 it had excellent flying characteristics and good stability and was regarded by some as the best Italian bomber of World War II, although its wooden structure was easily damaged by the climate, as experienced in North Africa and in Russia.

It was used by the Italian Regia Aeronautica, Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and Luftwaffe during World War II.

Variants

Z.1007bis

Z.1007ter

An improved version, that would have used Alfa Romeo 135 engines of 1,040 kW (1,400 hp).

This version was dropped because of the advent of the Z.1018 and the unreliability of the engines.

There was another   ‘Ter ‘ proposal with P.XIX engines (858 kW/1,150 hp), and production was started in 1942, with a total of around 150 made.

Test pilots were more impressed by this machine than the Z.1018, faster but with less power, while the range was improved from 2,000 km (1,240 mi) to 2,250 km (1,400 mi) with 2,460 kg (5,420 lb) fuel and 900 kg (1,980 lb) bombs.

So, while the Z.1018 had 2,013 kW (2,700 hp), already Z.1007Bis had 2,237 kW/3,000 hp (1,946 kW/2,610 hp at take off) and Z.1007ter 2,572 kW (3,450 hp).

Performances were improved with a max speed of 490 km/h (300 mph) at 6,150 m (20,180 ft) instead of 456 at 4,600 m (15,100 ft).

Climbing to 3,000 m (9,800 ft) in 6 min 28 sec, and 5,000 m (16,400 ft) in 10 min 44 sec (Z.1007 bis in 12 min 42 sec, Z.1007 Asso in 14 min 34 sec).

Armament and armour were also improved.

The dorsal turret was a Breda model, waist guns were replaced by 12.7 mm (.5 in) weapons. The ceiling was raised to 9,000 m (29,500 ft) from 8,400 m (27,600 ft).

Z.1007s were used mainly as night bombers and reconnaissance, they were also used for long range reconnaissance, with excellent results.

Some, at least twenty, were equipped with an auxiliary tank that gave 1,000 km (620 mi) extra endurance.

Some were adapted for flare drops when day missions were too dangerous.

One modification for photo missions had six robot machines in a ventral gondola plus another in the fuselage.

The long range and the ceiling helped these aircraft to obtain good results until the Spitfires appeared in the Mediterranean theatre.

Z.1015

Proposed as a record-breaking version of the Z.1007 in 1938 but not considered until 1942, when the Alfa 135s were substituted by Piaggio P.XII engines.

It could reach a speed of 563 km/h (350 mph; 304 kn), thanks to a total of over 2,982 kW (4,000 hp) installed.

It was tested successfully as a torpedo aircraft, but it was not used operationally and did not enter production.

Specifications

Z.1007bis

Crew

5

Length

18.35 m (60 ft 2 in)

Wingspan

24.8 m (81 ft 4 in)

Height

5.22 m (17 ft 2 in)

Wing area

70 m2 (750 sq ft)

Empty weight

9,396 kg (20,715 lb)

Max take-off weight

13,621 kg (30,029 lb)

Powerplant

3 × Piaggio P.XI R.C.40 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 745 kW (999 hp) each

Propellers

3-bladed variable-pitch propellers

Performance

Maximum speed

458 km/h (285 mph, 247 kn)

Cruise speed

338 km/h (210 mph, 183 kn)

Range

1,795 km (1,115 mi, 969 nmi)

Service ceiling

7,500 m (24,600 ft)

Armament

Guns

2 × 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Isotta-Fraschini Scotti or Breda-SAFAT machine guns

2 × 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns

Bombs

1,200 kg (2,645 lb) of bombs internally.

1,000 kg (2,200 lb) externally on under wing hard points.

Or

A combined load of 2,200 kg (4,900 lb) of bombs internally and on external hardpoints.

2 × 450 mm (17.7 in) 800 kg (1,800 lb), torpedoes.

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