SM.79 file photo [4107]

SM.79 Sparviero

Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight1 October 1934


ww2dbaseThe SM.79 Sparviero ("Sparrow Hawk") bombers were constructed of a welded tubular steel frame, covered with duralumin forward, duralumin and plywood over the top, and fabric elsewhere. The wings were made of wood. They first saw service with the Aviazione Legionaria units serving in the Spanish Civil War, where over 100 of these bombers assisted Francisco Franco's Nationalist forces mainly in Catalonia. By the time Italy entered WW2, Sm.79 bombers were the backbone of the Italian bomber force. They were used in France, Greece, Yugoslavia, Crete, Malta, Gibraltar, Palestine, and North Africa. They were responsible for sinking 86 Allied ships totaling 708,000 tons. After the Italian surrender, 34 SM.79 bombers served with the pro-Allies government and 36 served with the pro-Axis government in the north.

ww2dbaseIn 1939, 45 SM.79 bombers were sold to Yugoslavia. Most of them were destroyed during the German invasion in 1941, but a few survived to serve in the pro-Axis government after the invasion. Four of them were evacuated to Britain and were used by the Royal Air Force under the designations AX702, AX703, AX704, and AX705.

ww2dbaseBetween 1936 and 1945, 1,350 SM.79 bombers were built. After the war, a few of them continued to serve with the new Italian air force Aeronautica Militare as passenger transports; they were retired in 1952. A few of them made their way to the Lebanese air force and served until 1959.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2007


MachineryThree Alfa Romeo 128-RC18 radial engines rated at 860hp each
Armament1x20mm forward cannon, 1x12.7mm dorsal Breda-SAFAT machine gun, 2x7.7mm lateral port machine guns, 1,200kg internal bombs or 2x450mm torpedoes
Span20.20 m
Length16.20 m
Height4.10 m
Wing Area61.70 m
Weight, Empty7,700 kg
Weight, Loaded10,050 kg
Speed, Maximum460 km/h
Rate of Climb5.30 m/s
Service Ceiling7,500 m
Range, Normal2,600 km


SM.79 bomber in flight, circa 1940-1942SM.79 bombers of 193rd Squadron, 30th Wing, 87th Group, Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) over North Africa, 1940 to 1942, photo 1 of 2SM.79 bombers of 193rd Squadron, 30th Wing, 87th Group, Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) over North Africa, 1940 to 1942, photo 2 of 2

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Bob Edison says:
8 Apr 2011 10:44:08 PM

Interested in production numbers on Italian aircraft including post WWII

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SM.79 Sparviero Medium Bomber Photo Gallery
SM.79 bomber in flight, circa 1940-1942
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