S.81

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S.81
s_81_ar125.png
GarageImage S.81.jpg
S.81
Research:2 900 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:700 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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Description

The S.81 is a rank I Italian bomber with a battle rating of 1.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.71 "New E.R.A.".

The S.81 is distinctive with its three engines, two on the wings and one in the nose. This provides a level of redundancy with the nose engine unlikely to be disabled except from a head-on or a diving attack. Although, each engine is less powerful than contemporaries on other aircraft so each engine loss will heavily impact the aircraft's speed, causing it to lose altitude. Losing one engine on the wing would also cause the aircraft to start rolling over to the weakened end. However, if you manage to land your plane after losing an engine, you will be able to taxi back to base at 100% power. It will be slow though, as you can only reach speeds up to 14 km/h.

The plane in its default state is covered in a light green paint with black splotches around to break up the solid figure. A huge white band stretch out at the mid-section of the fuselage, right around the beam turrets, which could serve as reference points for enemies to knockout the beam and ventral turret gunners. On the tail's vertical stabilizer, a large white cross is also present with the logo of the Regia Aeronautica in the upper centre point of the paint. On the wings, the Regia Aeronautica roundels were also present to make the vehicle certainly belonging to the Italian tech tree.

Three types of turrets are available on the S.81, a dorsal turret on top, a ventral turret on the bottom, and two beam turrets for both sides of the fuselage. All the turrets provide an excellent arc of fires on their sectors, with mutual machine gun fire from more than one turret able to be met in most areas. Unfortunately, all the turrets used a 7.7 mm machine gun and while sustained fire could cause sufficient damage, they lack the quick stopping power needed to prevent fighters from strafing the bomber, and taking down enemy fighters quickly is crucial as the S.81 lacks any sort of armour for itself and the crew except self-sealing fuel tanks. Enemy machine-gun fire will quickly go through, damaging modules and crew members.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 4 000 m335 km/h
Turn time29 s
Max altitude6 800 m
Engine3 х Alfa Romeo 125 R.C.35
TypeRadial
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight11 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 4,000 m)
Max altitude
(metres)
Turn time
(seconds)
Rate of climb
(metres/second)
Take-off run
(metres)
AB RB AB RB AB RB
Stock 321 310 6800 30.1 31.3 3.9 3.9 450
Upgraded 351 335 28.0 29.0 9.4 6.3

Details

Features
Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
X X
Limits
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
530 530 369 348 241 ~4 ~2
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 260 < 270 < 270 > 330

Survivability and armour

Crew5 people
Speed of destruction
Structural530 km/h
Gear530 km/h
  • No armour plating
  • No armour glazing
  • Critical components located at front of aircraft (fuel, pilot, engine, controls)
  • More fuel tanks located in wings near fuselage

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB180 → 226 Sl icon.png
RB340 → 428 Sl icon.png
SB180 → 226 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications2 980 Rp icon.png
930 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost190 Ge icon.png
Crew training200 Sl icon.png
Experts1 000 Sl icon.png
Aces20 Ge icon.png
Research Aces96 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
10 / 30 / 90 % Sl icon.png
100 / 100 / 100 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
Research:
150 Rp icon.png
Cost:
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
Radiator
Research:
150 Rp icon.png
Cost:
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
Compressor
Research:
220 Rp icon.png
Cost:
70 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
Research:
190 Rp icon.png
Cost:
60 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
Engine
Research:
190 Rp icon.png
Cost:
60 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
Research:
240 Rp icon.png
Cost:
70 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
Airframe
Research:
220 Rp icon.png
Cost:
70 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
Cover
Research:
240 Rp icon.png
Cost:
70 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
breda_turret_belt_pack
Research:
150 Rp icon.png
Cost:
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
GP100
Research:
150 Rp icon.png
Cost:
50 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods turret gun.png
safat7_turret_new_gun
Research:
220 Rp icon.png
Cost:
70 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
bmg303_turret_belt_pack
Research:
190 Rp icon.png
Cost:
60 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
GP250
Research:
190 Rp icon.png
Cost:
60 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods turret gun.png
lewis_turret_new_gun
Research:
240 Rp icon.png
Cost:
70 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
GP500
Research:
240 Rp icon.png
Cost:
70 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png

When grinding this plane for improvements and modules, focus on the payload first, then the plane performance. Ignore the defensive firepower upgrades as the defensive firepower upgraded is still extremely weak until its the last upgrades you have to get.

Armaments

Suspended armament

Number of setups4
List of setups
Setup 128 x 50 kg GP 50 bomb
Setup 216 x 100 kg GP 100T bomb
Setup 34 x 250 kg GP 250 bomb
Setup 44 x 500 kg GP 500 bomb

The S.81 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • 28 x 50 kg GP 50 bombs (1,400 kg total)
  • 16 x 100 kg GP 100 bombs (1,600 kg total)
  • 4 x 250 kg GP 250 bombs (1,000 kg total)
  • 4 x 500 kg GP 500 bombs (2,000 kg total)

Defensive armament

2 х Turret2 x 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun
Ammunition1000 rounds
Fire rate900 shots/min
2 х Turret7.7 mm Lewis machine gun
Ammunition500 rounds
Fire rate551 shots/min

The S.81 is defended by:

  • 2 x 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, dorsal turret (500 rpg = 1,000 total)
  • 2 x 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, ventral turret (500 rpg = 1,000 total)
  • 1 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun, 2 x beam turrets (500 rpg)

Usage in battles

S.81 is a well armed beginner bomber for Italy, being able to carry a heavy load of bombs in different sizes. Though it doesn't possess the greatest speed, it's still a bomber for the enemy team to recognize as a threat for its carrying capacity of bombs. Being mixed up with bombers from other nations like He 111 H-3, F.222.2, or TB-3M-17-32, they can easily wipe out enemy bomb points and airfield.

S.81 is armed with 6 x 7.7 mm machine guns: 2 x Lewis (7.7 mm) and 4 x Breda-SAFAT (7.7 mm) which is pretty well armed for a low tier bomber. The two Lewis machine guns are placed at the middle rear of the plane in the sides, where they can cover if enemy planes are flying level next to the S.81. Meanwhile, the 4 x Breda machine guns are placed in two turrets that have 360° coverage above and below the bomber, being able to defend it from most angles. It is able to defend itself pretty well against biplanes from reserve ranks, but can have tougher opponents like I-16 type 24, Yak-2 KABB, P-36G, He 100 D-1, Potez 631, and J22-A that can make quick work of the S.81 as they are faster, more agile, and usually have more firepower than the S.81.

S.81 is able to carry 28 x 50 kg bombs, 16 x 100 kg bombs, 4 x 250 kg bombs or 4 x 500 kg bombs. Bombloads like 28 x 50 kg and 16 x 100 kg are excellent for carpet bombing convoys and knocking out light targets, meanwhile heavier bombloads like 4 x 250 kg and 4 x 500 kg are excellent for destroying bombing points and damaging airfields. They are all useful in ground battles.

Best use of S.81 in Air Battles is on clean up duty after other bombers that are way faster and might not have the bombload to take out bombing points in one go, or S.81 can go for stationary targets like pillboxes, light pillboxes, AA emplacements and artillery positions to bleed the enemy team's tickets.

In ground battles the S.81 can be good air support for allied ground units, protecting points that are being captured by hostile forces and with good communications with the ground teammates it can wipe out entrenched enemies that are likely to be protecting points or certain roads or areas of the map. But beware of enemy SPAA units, S.81's slow speed makes it an easy target for most SPAA vehicles at its battle rating.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Separate Not controllable
1 gear
Not controllable

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Great payload, can carry up to 2,000 kg of ordnance
  • Machine gun turrets can reach all sides of the bomber
  • Fast-firing defensive armament, with incendiary bullets that can easily set fabric-covered low-tier planes on fire

Cons:

  • Slow and sluggish
  • No armour or bulletproof glass for protection
  • Abysmal defensive firepower
  • Loss of a single engine will hamper the plane's ability to stay in the air
  • Low maximum altitude

History

Under the need to have an aircraft capable reaching the far reaches of the Italian colonies in Africa, a project was made to develop an aircraft able to suit the Regia Aeronautica. Approaching manufacturer Savoia-Marchetti, chief designer Alessandro Marchetti developed the aircraft based on the Savoia's SM.73 airliner and militarized the vehicle for its intended use.[1] The first prototype was built and flown in early 1935, approximately six months after the SM.73 debuted.[2] This aircraft was then known as the SM.81 "Pipistrello" ("Bat"). The aircraft was accepted for service in the same year with mass-production slated, with different engines used throughout the production life. 534 SM.81 would be produced in the time span between 1935 to 1944.[3]

Combat usage

At its inception, the SM.81 was considered one of the better medium bombers of the era with its top speed of 211 miles, long range of 1,336 miles, well armed with six machine gun positions and able to carry a payload of up to 2,205 lbs.[3] The SM.81 found a versatile use on the battlefield, being used in a transport, bombing, ground attack, and a reconnaissance role, ensuring its relevancy even later in the war. One was procured by Benito Mussolini to be used as his private aircraft, the aircraft being nicknamed "Taratuga" ("Turtle") for its sluggish speed.

The SM.81 was first used in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (also known as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War), lasting from 03 October 1935 to May 1936, quickly putting the SM.81 into action. Their versatile performed well in their support of the Italian troops, culminating with the annexation of Ethiopia into Italy's East African colonies. The SM.81 saw use again in the Spanish Civil War to aid the Spanish Nationalists in the Aviazione Legionaria, where they were used to the same degree as in Ethiopia. Though 12 were sent on a 705-mile flight on 29 July 1936 to Spanish-controlled Morocco, complexity in the flight had only nine arrive. These nine bombers provided a great asset in the Strait of Gibraltar as more aircraft arrived, keeping the Spanish Republican's Navy at bay. As the Nationalists push closer to Madrid, the SM.81, working alongside the German Condor Legion, bombed the Spanish capital almost daily. Though the SM.81 sometimes flew with escorting C.R.32 biplanes, flying unescorted with tight formations was also possible due to the mutual machine gun protection with each other.[4] However, when Soviet I-15 and I-16 appeared, flights started to be conducted at night to avoid losing precious bombers. When Italy left Spain at the conclusion of the war, around 64 SM.81 was left behind for the Spanish Air Force.

By the outbreak of World War II, the SM.81 was showing its age, though 300 units still remained in the Regia Aeronautica's inventory.[1] With the faster and more powerful SM.79 beginning to see service in 1936, the SM.81's roles was supplemented. The SM.81 still saw service in secondary roles and so deliveries still continued. It was used in the African theater as the main bomber against British forces in East Africa, but British Gladiators and Hurricanes posed a major threat. Due to this the SM.81 was relegated as a night bomber in North Africa, with the darkness as cover against the enemy fighters. 80 SM.81 were also produced into a dedicated transport aircraft, known as SM.81T, which proved vital in transporting troops and material to Rommel's Afrika Korps.[3]

Even after Italy's surrender to Allied forces in September 1943, the SM.81 still saw service in North Italy's Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and South Italy's Aviazione Cobelligerante Italiana. Though South Italy soon removed them from service, North Italy used them until the end of the war.[1] In the conclusion of World War II, several SM.81 were still in service with the post-war Aeronautica Militare Italiana, sticking around until 1950 when they were all officially retired.

Other developments

Two main variants of the SM.81 existed, the SM.81 as a bomber/transport variant and the SM.81T as a dedicated transport aircraft, both using various engines as propulsion. A project was done known as the SM.81B, which used a two-engine configuration. This provided inadequate performance compared to the three-engine configurations and so the project was discontinued.

Though the SM.81 saw use in the various Italian air forces and in Spain, three were also sent to the Chinese Nationalist forces, arriving at an unknown date. However, all three samples were destroyed in training exercises in early 1938.[1]

Media

Skins
Videos

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Military Factory. "Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello (Bat) Medium Bomber / Transport Aircraft." Military Factory, 31 May 2017, Website.
  2. Century of Flight. "Savoia Marchetti S.M.81 Pipistrello." Italian Aircraft of World War Two, 11 Nov 2007, Web Archive.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Murphy, Justin D., and Matthew A. McNiece. Military Aircraft, 1919-1945: an Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO, 2009.
  4. Smith, Richard K., and R. Cargill. Hall. Five down, No Glory: Frank G. Tinker, Mercenary Ace in the Spanish Civil War. Naval Institute Press, 2011.


Savoia-Marchetti
Bombers  S.M.79 serie 1 · S.M.79 serie 8
  S.M.79 AS · S.M.79 bis/T.M · S.M.79 B
  S.81
Attackers  SM.91 · SM.92
Captured  ▀S.M.79 serie 1 · ▀S.M.79 serie 4 · ▀S.M.79 serie 8
  ▀S.M.79 AS · ▀S.M.79 bis/T.M · ▀S.M.79 B · ▀S.M.79 bis/N

Italy bombers
Fiat  B.R.20DR · B.R.20M M1
Savoia-Marchetti  S.81 · S.M.79 serie 1 · S.M.79 B · S.M.79 serie 8 · S.M.79 AS · S.M.79 bis/T.M
CANT  Z.1007 bis serie 3 · Z.1007 bis serie 5
Piaggio  P.108B serie 1 · P.108B serie 2
German  ▄Ju 87 R-2 · ▄Ju 87 D-3