The CANT Z.1018’s story begins after the air staff turned to CRDA for a new bomber after the seeming success of the Z.1007, CRDA’s solution was the twin engined all metal Z.1018 an upgrade to the Z.1015. Air staff reluctantly ordered 100 aircraft due to their skepticism it could meet their criteria as a twin engine bomber. Eventually only a few were built due to the armistice, but some were experimented on such as the plane I am going to talk about today, MM.24824, I’ll refer to it as Z.1018 CN.
Rino Corso Fougier, general in the Royal Italian Air Force, requested a Night fighter to be made out of a Z.1018 in late August of 1942, but a model was handed over only 4 months later on 16th of December 1942. The first changes to the plane was removing all the defensive armaments and its corresponding armor, adding an armored windshield, a glass cupola for navigating by stars, four radar antennae and its corresponding supports in the nose and lastly a powerful gun armament. The armament would consisted of 4 Mauser MG 151 cannons mounted in a ventral position, 2 12,7 mm Breda SAFAT machine guns in the nose and 2 in the wings. On June 30th the refit still wasn’t complete, missing the IMCA-Radio VHF set and FuG 202 Lichtenstein radar of a decommissioned Dornier Do 217 J-2. On 2nd and 5th of August the aircraft flew more extensively in a set of speed tests with and without the antennae, the results were as following:
Without antennae - 406 km/h (252 mph) at 2100 rpm and 838 mm manifold pressure
With antennae - 388 km/h (241 mph) at 2100 rpm and 838 mm manifold pressure
It is unclear if these speed tests were performed with all equipment on board.
The maximum altitude for this performance was calculated to be 4700 m (15419 ft). The whole plane weighed 8870 kg (19555 lbs) with all components except the propeller spinners and some internal/external large armor. By 6th of August they brought back defensive armament in the shape of 2 7,7 mm waist SAFAT guns and 1 12,7 mm Scotti gun in a ventral position, in the same spot as on the standard Z.1018 bomber. There was an armament test on 16th of August where the 4 Mauser cannons caused the outer layer of the ventral access hatch to fly off, on 7th of September when the plane would fly for the last time as just 4 days later unidentified partisans would set fire to the hangar the Z.1018 CN was located in.
- Crew: 4 to 5 (estimation, 1 pilot, 1 copilot/radar operator, 3 defensive gunners)
- Length: 17.6 m (57 ft 9 in)
- Wingspan: 22.5 m (73 ft 10 in)
- Height: 6.1 m (20 ft 0 in)
- Wing area: 63.1 m2 (679 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 8870 kg (19555 lbs)
- Gross weight: /
- Powerplant: 2 x P.XII R.C.35 (1200 hp)
- Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propellers
- Maximum speed: ~388 km/h (241 mph) (not enough info on this, the people at the time calculated 491,5 km/h at 4700 m)
- Service ceiling: /
- Time to altitude: /
- Guns: 4 x Mauser MG 151 cannons, 4 x 12,7 mm Breda SAFAT machine guns
- Defensive armament: 1 x ventral 12,7 mm Scotti gun, 2 x waist 7,7 mm Breda SAFAT machine guns
Why it should be in the game
Currently the only night fighter with radar Italy has is the Bf 110 G-4 and its in a premium, the Z.1018 CN however would be a good tech tree vehicle because its primarily Italian, it wouldn’t be very practical in ground battles but would definitely put fear into enemy bombers.
Ali d’Italia Mini 007 - CRDA CANT Z.1018 Leone I
Images (sadly no pictures of the aircraft itself)