G.55 file photo [76]

G.55 Centauro

Primary RoleFighter
Maiden Flight30 April 1942


ww2dbaseThe G.55 Centauro fighters were designed by Giuseppe Gabrielli to fill Italy's need for high altitude fighters. The prototype flew on 30 Apr 1942, and they entered service in 1943, most of them under the banner of the German puppet state in Northern Italy after Benito Mussolini's government fell after the Allied invasion of Sicily. Many German engineers cited their approval for the G.55 design, but because the much greater production time required to produce each fighter, the Germans never picked up this design for their own use. Production of the G.55 fighters continued into the post-war period, with new variants being released several years after the war had ended for Italy.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2006


MachineryOne Fiat R.A 1050 Tifone liquid-cooled inverted V-12 engine rated at 1,475 hp
Armament3x20mm Mg 151/20 cannons, 4x12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, optional 2x160kg bombs
Span11.85 m
Length9.37 m
Height3.13 m
Wing Area21.11 m²
Weight, Empty2,630 kg
Weight, Maximum3,718 kg
Speed, Maximum620 km/h
Service Ceiling12,700 m
Range, Normal1,160 km


An Italian pilot preparing for flight with his G.55 aircraft, date unknownClose-up of the front end of a G.55 Centauro aircraft, date unknownG.55 aircraft resting on an airfield, date unknown

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Ron says:
18 Oct 2014 04:29:16 PM

After evaluation by the Luftwaffe against the contemporary Messerschmitt Bf 109G-4, Fw 190A-5, Macchi MC 205 and Re 2005, the robust Fiat G 55 Centauro was declared the best Axis fighter overall in 1943!

It was easiest of the 3 Italian fighters to mass produce and man-hours could be cut from 15,000 to an estimated 9,000 on German production lines.

It was also most suitable for upgrading later to the bigger DB603 engine.

The G 55/II had 5 Mauser 20mm cannons!!
Good for intercepting Heavy bombers, even B-29s should they venture over Europe.

Speed: 417 mph with WEP. 590 mph terminal dive without flutter.
Good rear view. Better high altitude handling and turn than all but the weaker Re 2005.
Good ceiling and range for a European intercepter too.

In my opinion, the fighter version could make do with 3 cannons for lighter weight to mix it up with enemy fighters. Then it could even be exported to Japan when reliable new high altitude fighter designs were the exception and the Zero and Oscar were obsolete mid-war. Can you imagine all 3 Axis nations ramping up mass production of the G 55 like Germany almost did? Don't forget, the 5,000+ Oscars took 25,000 man-hours each to produce!

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G.55 Centauro Fighter Photo Gallery
An Italian pilot preparing for flight with his G.55 aircraft, date unknown
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