IMAM Ro.51

The IMAM Ro.51 was an Italian fighter aircraft that first flew in 1937. It was designed for the 1936 new fighter contest for the Regia Aeronautica, with practically all the Italian aircraft builders involved.


IMAM Ro.51
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer IMAM
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1937
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Italy View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
IMAM 2 View

The aircraft, designed by the engineer Galasso, was a single-seat, monoplane fighter, of mixed construction (the wings were made of wood), and initially with a fixed undercarriage.

The engine was standard for this generation of fighters, an 840 hp Fiat A.74 RC 38 radial powering a three-blade propeller.

The fixed undercarriage, meant that the maximum speed was only 467 km/h. It was armed with two Breda-SAFAT 12.7 mm machine guns.

On June 1938 the first prototype, initially fitted with a very small tail, was tested and found inferior to the Macchi C.200 and Fiat G.50. It was overall a poor aircraft. The trials to re-engineer the wing came too late and no orders were made.

The second prototype Ro.51/1, was converted into a fighter floatplane. Like the Ro.44 it had a large central float and two smaller ones under the wings. The maximum speed dropped to 430 km/h, but endurance was increased to 1,200 km.

Unfortunately during a trial one of the wings suddenly sank in the water. The rest of the aircraft swiftly followed, and the loss of this prototype meant the end of the program.

Although performance was apparently fairly good, the project was overall a failure, especially in the early aspects, even if it was not too different from the Fokker D.XXI. But with so many other superior machines also involved, waiting for the problems the Ro.51 had to be fixed was not an option.

Role Fighter
Manufacturer IMAM
First flight 1937
Status Prototype
Number built 2


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 7.46 m (24 ft 5¾ in)
  • Wingspan: 9.78 m (32 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 2.71 m (8 ft 10? in)
  • Wing area: 16.4 m² (176 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 1,663 kg (3,666 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 2,092 kg (4,612 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Fiat A.74 R.C.38 14-cylinder radial engine, 618 kW (828 hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 489 km/h at 4,500 m (264 knots, 304 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 444 km/h (240 knots, 276 mph)
  • Range: 1,200 km (648 nm, 745 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 8,200 m (26,900 ft)
  • Climb to 6,000 m (19,700 ft): 7 minutes

Armament

  • 2 × 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns

End notes