SM.81 file photo [4113]

SM.81 Pipistrello

Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight1 January 1934


ww2dbaseThe SM.81 Pipistrello ("Bat") bombers were developed from an earlier SM.73 airliner design. They first saw combat in Abyssinia, where they served bombing, reconnaissance, and transport roles. They also served under the Spanish Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. Although they were dated by the time Italy entered WW2, more than 100 SM.81 bombers remained in service with the Italian air force Regia Aeronautica. In North Africa, where hostile aerial opposition was less intense, they continued to serve as a night bomber, but in the Mediterranean Sea and later in the Sicily Campaign they were used mainly as a transport only. A total of 534 were built during the design's production life. After the war, a few of them continued to serve with Italy and Spain until 1950.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2007


MachineryThree Piaggio P.X RC.35 radial engines rated at 700hp each
Armament6x7.7mm machine guns, 2,000kg maximum bomb load
Span24.00 m
Length18.30 m
Height4.45 m
Wing Area93.00 m²
Weight, Empty6,300 kg
Weight, Maximum9,300 kg
Speed, Maximum340 km/h
Service Ceiling7,000 m
Range, Normal2,000 km


Close-up view beneath SM.81 bomberGround crew working with a transport version of SM.81 aircraft, date unknownSM.81 bomber in flight, date unknown, photo 1 of 3SM.81 bomber in flight, date unknown, photo 2 of 3
See all 6 photographs of SM.81 Pipistrello Medium Bomber

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SM.81 Pipistrello Medium Bomber Photo Gallery
Close-up view beneath SM.81 bomber
See all 6 photographs of SM.81 Pipistrello Medium Bomber

Famous WW2 Quote
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?"

Winston Churchill, 1935