SAI.403 Dardo
Ambrosini SAI.403.jpg
The SAI.403 Dardo prototype with German Luftwaffe markings after its seizure by the Germans.
Role Light fighter
Manufacturer Ambrosini
First flight 1943
Number built 1
Developed from Ambrosini SAI.207

The Ambrosini SAI.403 Dardo ("Dart") was a light fighter aircraft built in Italy during World War II.

Design and development

SAI.403 Dardo was a considerably refined version of the SAI.207, designed during the delays in that type's development. The improvements induced the Ministero dell' Aeronautica in 1943 to cancel its order for 2,000 of the SAI.207 so as to order 3,000 of the SAI.403 instead (800 from Ambrosini, 1,000 from Caproni, and 1,200 from Savoia-Marchetti). Apart from the fighter's superlative performance, its all-wood construction was attractive at a time when Italy was facing a shortage of strategic materials. However, by the time of the Armistice, the first of these was yet to leave the factory.

Operational history

The single prototype (MM.518) was seized by the Germans and evaluated by the Luftwaffe at Vergiate. Japanese pilots then stationed in Germany were also given a chance to fly the aircraft, with the result that it was ordered into production by both Heinkel and Mitsubishi.[citation needed] None of these flew before the end of the war.

Variants

SAI.403A
Point-defense fighter (gross weight 2,478 kg/5,460 lb) armed with 2 × 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns.
SAI.403B
Standard fighter (gross weight 2,643 kg/5,830 lb) armed with 2 × 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns and 2 × 15 mm MG 151/15 cannons or 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 guns.
SAI.403C
Long-range fighter with 2 × 20 mm cannons and an extra 110 l (29 US gal; 24 imp gal) internal fuel with 2x 150 l (40 US gal; 33 imp gal) drop tanks for a total range of 2,320 km (1,440 mi).

Operators

 Germany
 Kingdom of Italy

Specifications (prototype)

Data from Aircraft of the Third Reich[1]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Green, William (2010). Aircraft of the Third Reich. [S.l.]: Crecy. p. 20. ISBN 9781900732062.

Bibliography

  • Cattaneo, Gianni. SAI-Ambrosini 207 e derivati (bilingual Italian/English). Roma, Italy: La Bancarella Aeronautica, 2005.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989.