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Fiat G.222 Cervino - Early Design Work

The G222 program, for a multirole, medium range, twin engine turboprop aircraft, was born out of a specific requirement of the Italian Air Force. The objective was to obtain an aircraft with a high level of flexibility in its use, coupled with excellent handling characteristics and reduced operating costs. The origin of the Aeritalia G 222, one of the most successful Italian planes, was following a NATO specifications called NBMR-4 ( NATO Basic Military Requirement-4 - NBMR-4) of the 1962, where many tactical transports V/STOL ( Vertical/Short Take Off landing ) projects were born. Fiat's G.222 Cervino was a natural outgrowth of a submission in the subsequent NBMR-22 competition.

On 22 November 1962 the official presentation took place of the G.222 project, where "G" stands for the surname of the chief-designer Giuseppe Gabrielli (best known for WWII Fiat fighters), "two" to indicate the adopted two-engine formula and "22" as number of order of the NATO specification "NBMR 22". The contract the Italian Air Force signed with the FIAT factory in 1963 proceeded, and over time the design was substantially modified, with greater focus on conventional flight characteristics.

As envisaged in 1963, the G.222 would be powered by two 3,030-3,245 s.h.p. RoIls-Royce Dart turboprops in long nacelles that would each also house three RB 162-31 lift jets. Such an installation would not permit VTOL operation at the gross weight of 35,0001b, but the G.222 would be able to reach 50ft in 650ft in a STOL take-off at full weight, and would land in the same distance. Vertical take-off would, of course, be possible at forward airstrips after fuel had been burned on the outward journey. Stabilization during VTOL and low-speed flight would be by a system of air-bleed jets. Typical payloads include 40 fully-equipped troops, 32 paratroops, 24 stretcher cases or three jeeps, which could be carried 750 miles at 250 mph.

This early design could certainly fulfil a variety of military and civil missions. It would be an enlightening exercise to compare it in detail with the STOL Breguet 941. In cruising flight the G.222 should be more efficient, for it has a smaller wing and less drag. But the fuel consumption with lift jets at full thrust will obviously be much higher, so the relative merits of the two aircraft will depend upon the proportion of each mission spent in the high-lift configuration.

It was announced in Bonn on 03 April 1964 that the governments of Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany were jointly to develop a V/STOL ground-attack fighter to replace the Fiat G.91 tactical aircraft used by both nations. It had earlier been reported that the design chosen was the Fiat G.95/4, but the official statement by the German Defence Ministry named the Focke-Wulf 1262 (VAK-191) as the chosen aircraft. Such a decision has been expected for at least 18 months, during which time negotiations had also been in progress for the joint development by the two countries of a V/STOL tactical transport. In the case of the transport the competing designs were the turboprop Fiat G.222 and vectored-thrust Dornier 31.

By mid-1965 it was envisaged that the G.222 military transport, although initially designed for V/STOL operation with the assistance of three RB.162 lift engines in each of its two Dart turboprop nacelles, was to be completed at first as a completely conventional design. The nacelle-mounted lift engines may be added at a later stage, if required, to give V/STOL capability. The G.222 was competing with a new design, the Piaggio RP.180, for an Italian air force C-119 replacement contract, but was also being offered for ASW duties. Nearly every major Italian aircraft company, including Aerfer, Agusta, Aermacchi, Finmeccanica, Piaggio and SIAI-Marchetti, as well as Fiat, were involved in G.222 design and development.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:58:51 ZULU