CR. 42AS, Italian Fighter-Bomber
The Fiat CR.42 Falco (“Falcon”)is a single-seat sesquiplane fighter developed and produced by Italian aircraft manufacturer Fiat Aviazione. It served primarily in Italy’s Regia Aeronautica both before and during the Second World War.
The CR.42 was an evolutionary design of Fiat’s earlier CR.32 fighter, featuring a more powerful supercharged Fiat A.74R1C.38 air-cooled radial engine and aerodynamic improvements to its relatively clean exterior surfaces. The aircraft proved to be relatively agile in flight, a factor that had been attributed to its very low wing loading and a sometimes decisive tactical advantage. RAF Intelligence praised its exceptional maneuverability, further noting that “the plane was immensely strong”, though it was technically outclassed by faster, more heavily armed monoplanes. While primarily used as a fighter, various other roles were adopted for some variants of the type, such as the CR.42CN dedicated night fighter model, the CR.42AS ground attack aircraft, and the CR.42B Biposto twin-seat trainer aircraft.
A close air-support version. The two standard 12.7 mm machine guns could be supplemented with two more. There were underwing racks for two 220 lb (100 kg) bombs. AS stands for ‘Africa Settentrionale.’ There was an additional engine filter to prevent damage from sand which caused a loss in power, a common occurrence in North Africa, since filter-less engines could be damaged after only a few hours use