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copeab 04-08-2010 06:26 AM

[WWII] Meridionali Ro.37 multi-role biplane (Italy)
Meridionali Ro.37 multi-role biplane
Copyright 2010 by Brandon Cope

The Ro.37 debuted in 1935 as a mixed construction (wood and metal) biplane, seeing service in East Africa and the Spanish Civil War. It was later used with some success in the Balkans. It was used in the fighter, recon, light bomber and ambulance roles. After some 160 were built, an improved version (the Ro.37bis) was introduced, using a slightly less powerful but more reliable engine. Around 475 of the -bis were built and 275 were still in use in June 1940. Numbers were exported to Hungary, Afghanistan, Ecuador and Uruguay.

While there are three crew positions provided, normally only two people were carried. The observer had two positions, one open where he manned the 7.7mm rear MG and an internal observation position with windows in the sides and bottom. In the ambulance role, this position was used to hold an evacuee (a four person could probably be squeezed in if required).

Crew consists of a pilot and gunner/observer. The Ro.37bis uses 20.8 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage.

Subassemblies: Medium Fighter chassis +3, Light Fighter Wings with biplane option +3, three fixed wheels +0.
Powertrain: 416-kW aerial supercharged HP gasoline engine with 416-kW prop and 185-gallon standard fuel tanks [Body].
Occupancy: 2 XCS, 1 CS Cargo: 5.5 Body

All: 2/2
Pilot/Gunner: 0/+15 BU

2xAircraft LMG/7.7mm Breda-SAFAT [Body:F] (500 each).
Aircraft LMG/7.7mm Breda-SAFAT [Body:B] (500).
12x33-lb bombs [Body:U]

Body: Medium radio receiver and transmitter, navigation instruments, autopilot, 400-lb hardpoint.

Size: 28'x36'x10'
Payload: 0.99 tons
Lwt: 2.67 tons
Volume: 200
Maint.: 46 hours
Price: $18,800

HT: 9.
HP: 120 [body], 135 [each wing], 12 [each wheel]
aSpeed: 205
aAccel: 5
aDecel: 36
aMR: 8
aSR: 2
Stall: 55

Design Notes
Design speed was 189 mph. The historical speed has been used, as well as the actual wing area (337 square feet). Loaded weight was decreased by 6%.

The 33-lb bombs do 6dx30 [10d] damage.

The original Ro.37 used 448-kW engines (aSpeed 208) with HT 7.
Some Ro.37bis were fitted with a 522-kW engine optimized for low-altitude performance.

The Ro.43 was a related development, a floatplane using one main and two stabilizing floats and slightly enlarged wings that could be folded, designed for catapult launch from ships. It used a 522-kW engine but drag from the floats lowered speed to 186 mph. One forward MG and the hardpoint were removed. 125 were built.

The Ro.44 was the fighter version of the Ro.43. The observer position was fared over and both 7.7mm Mgs were fixed forward. 40 were built.

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