|This page is about the premium Italian jet fighter G.91 R/4. For other versions, see G.91 (Family).
The G.91 R/4 is a premium rank V Italian jet fighter with a battle rating of 8.3 (AB), 8.7 (RB), and 9.0 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.87 "Locked On" as a pack vehicle purchasable in the Gaijin Store, but was removed from sale after the 2021 May Sale. It later returned for purchase for Golden Eagles in Update "Red Skies".
The R/4 is a variant of the G.91 jet fighter that has been modified for ground attack, allowing it access to a competitive selection of air-to-ground ordnance such as bombs, rockets, and high-explosive air-to-ground missiles. The R/4 also has the option to equip two different types of air-to-air missiles: the IR-tracking AIM-9B Sidewinder missile, or the command-guided AA-20 Nord missile.
The G.91 R/4 is a very nimble fighter with relatively average top speed and fairly good acceleration. Best played as a support fighter, the G.91 R/4 can use its incredible roll and turn rates to quickly get guns on target, as well as to dodge the typically less manoeuvrable fighters that it shares its battle ratings with.
The G.91 was intended to replace the F-86A Sabre in German, Portuguese and Italian service, and it shows. With an empty weight of only 3,100 kg (6,800 lbs) and a takeoff weight of 5,500 kg (12,100 lbs), the Gina is in the weight class as the P-51D and MiG-9, yet severely lighter than most other jets and losing about one and a half tonnes compared to the Sabre A.
Although only outputting a meagre 22 kN of thrust, this first look disadvantage is literally outweighed by the high thrust to weight ratio of 0.73 empty (0.41 full). This makes the Gina an excellent dogfighter as jet fighters maintain their top speed, climb rate, and sustained turn-rate by their engine power rather than other flight characteristics. It can easily reach its own terminal speed (1,011 km/h, 921 ft/s) and self-destruct in level flight.
Lacking in straight wings and leading wing slats, the stall speed for the G.91 is higher than the low weight leads one to assume. One should hence be wary of many older jet types with said features, as after bleeding too much speed they can easily out-manoeuvre the Gina.
Starting with 20 min of fuel, gaining the climb speed of 800 km/h IAS (sustainable @ 7-8°; 730 ft/s) takes a mere ~80 seconds with 20 predicated for taking off at 230 km/h or 210 ft/s IAS. An Immelmann at 800 km/h will gain 1,000 m and lose 300 km/h. A hard 180° turn at the same speed takes >100 km/h and may lose up to 60 m.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 0 m - sea level)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
|Wing loading (full fuel)
|Bristol Orpheus MK.803
|Mass with fuel (no weapons load)
| Max Takeoff
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (101%)
| 2,212 kgf
| 2,234 kgf
Survivability and armour
- 40 mm Bulletproof glass in front of the pilot
- 6.5 mm Steel plate, starts in the pilot's seat, goes below the pilot, ends in front of the pilot
- 6.5 mm Steel plate below a fuel tank in the centre-front of the fuselage
- 6.5 mm Steel plate below a fuel tank in the centre-rear of the fuselage
- Self-sealing fuel tanks (6 mid-fuselage)
Though the G.91 R/4 does have a decent amount of armour spaced out between the centre and front of the fuselage, the steel plates will only be sufficient to protect the pilot and aircraft from lower calibre fire (7.92 mm to 7.62 mm machine guns will only penetrate at very close ranges). And, thanks to the sacrifices made to lighten the aircraft, the airframe is not particularly reinforced. The wings are very thin and susceptible to being out-right broken off by most-all primary armaments the G.91 will face at its tier, and the fuselage is full of juicy fuel tanks as well as the single engine of the R/4. Even more so than most planes, the G.91 R/4 is not capable of taking any hits. Even low calibre fire, such as that from .50 cal machine guns, can cripple an R/4 nigh-immediately and necessitate an immediate return-to-base.
Modifications and economy
The G.91 R/4 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|12.7 mm M3 Browning machine guns (300 rpg)
|500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs
|500 lb Mk 82 Snakeye bombs
|Aerea 559G1 incendiary bombs
|FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
|AA-20 Nord missiles
|AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles
|AS-20 Nord missiles
|Maximum permissible weight imbalance: 390 kg
|* MCLOS missiles cannot be carried in conjunction with machine guns on hardpoint 4
|Default weapon presets
Featuring a wide range of ordnance, the G.91 R/4 can be equipped for any role from ground to air combat, though it prefers air superiority.
The M3 Browning is a new weapon in the Italian arsenal at rank V and, compared to the previous experiences, a let down. The rate of fire is phenomenal, but the small calibre and ammo size put a serious damper to the mood, that is in comparison of course. In practise and with good aim, it can easily shred four fighters. The high bullet velocity and fire rate is quite the advantage in the fast pace world of jet combat, ensuring hits in deflection shots where the lower rate of fire found in the Soviet jet fighters might have failed the pilot.
Yet one will always look onto greener pastures, especially as the Gina only has four guns unlike all other Browning armed jets. No matter how you turn it, the armament is only manageable with skill and outright bad for a beginner.
For air-to-ground purposes, the G.91 R/4 is similar to the G.91 pre-serie and G.91 R/1, both its predecessors, in loadout options, sharing the same FFAR Mighty Mouse rocket option as well as the choice of a pair of 500 lb bombs. However, the G.91 R/4 has an additional and unique option: the AS-20 Nord air-to-ground missile, with a reasonable penetration value (83 mm RHAe) but incredible warhead size of (just under) 30 kg of TNT. Skilled use of the missile can allow for a more accurate fire at longer ranges especially versus more dangerous vehicles like self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.
Air-to-air ordnance selection is where the G.91 R/4 stands out from its brethren; the G.91 R/4 is the lowest-ranked jet in the Italian aircraft tree to gain access to air-to-air missiles, with access to the American AIM-9B infrared-guided missile, and one of only two jets in-game (alongside the Super Mystére B.2) to have the option of loading the unique AA-20 Nord air-to-air missiles; keyboard guided missiles with a 15 metre proximity fuse. Unlike infrared-guided missiles in War Thunder, the AA-20 Nords do not warn targets of a missile launch giving R/4 pilots the element of surprise, and the Nord's proximity fuse increases the chance of long-range launches striking a target, though these perks come at the demand of a much higher skill floor for usage.
Usage in battles
Due to the G.91 R/4's notably lower speed and high-end acceleration as compared to its contemporaries, the R/4 should be played as a support fighter, meaning the pilot should seek to stick near teammates rather than hunting targets solo, and opt to pick off hostile aircraft that are engaged and distracted with/by allied fighters. The G.91 airframe is exceptionally agile, and the R/4 is no exception; even heavily manoeuvring targets are easy for this plane to keep the nose on. The plane's exceptional roll and turn rates are its biggest strengths, and the pilot should seek to use that to their advantage rather than attempting to fight speed or energy battles.
Make use of the G.91 R/4's varied suspended armaments to dispatch a variety of targets. The AIM-9B is a very easy to use missile and can force faster targets to manoeuvre, slowing them down, and can sometimes even net target destructions. Be careful when using this missile around friendlies though, as a misguided Sidewinder will destroy allied aircraft. The AA-20 Nord is a much more difficult missile to use, but it has a far longer effective range and can often surprise enemies who expect a warning from enemy missile launches. Use the massive range and proximity fuse to take down faster targets flying away from you, and consider using them to destroy bombers such as the often-seen Vautour IIB, Vautour IIA, and Israeli Vautour IIA, who not only are far less able to dodge missiles but also have larger airframes that trigger the proximity fuse from longer distances.
Pros and cons
- Exceptional manoeuvrability, with very high roll and turn rates
- Varied and effective suspended armament choices
- Access to air-to-air missiles, including the AA-20 Nord
- Access to the AS-20 Nord air-to-ground missile
- Relatively low calibre primary armament (four .50 cal Brownings)
- Slower than most of its contemporaries
- Very fragile airframe
- Poor energy retention
The story of the Fiat G.91 R/4 began during the late stages of the Cold War, with the first pre-serie G.91s being tested in Italy. NATO had set up a competition between nations, in the hopes that all NATO members would share the same aircraft to facilitate the overall structure of NATO member air forces. Having access to the same aircraft en mass would have benefited the alliance in many ways, such as the availability of spare parts, NATO pilots being able to operate the same aircraft (meaning that in the event of war there would always be trained pilots available to operate the aircraft), and overall saving a lot of time and money. The original competition specifications which NATO outlined called for a jet able to carry up to 450 kg of ordnance, an operational radius of 180 km, with a maximum speed of at least Mach 0.95 and a takeoff distance of no more than 1,100 m, on unprepared or grass runways. For this, a lot of nations had decided to take part, mainly because it would result in an influx of financial support. Overall from all the nations that had decided to participate, 8 aircraft competed. This would include aircraft such as the French Dassault Etendard (then called the Mystere XXVI), the British Folland Gnat and the Italian Aerfer Sagittario 2 which would ultimately lose to the G.91. During the competition, a lot of aircraft would not pass to the next stages of the competition. The G.91 among some other aircraft were selected for the second round beginning in late 1957. The Italian Air Force was already showing interest despite the NATO competition still ongoing, eventually Fiat went ahead with a small batch of 27 pre-production ("pre-serie" in Italian) aircraft, with the first flight of the G.91 being completed in August 1956, seven months ahead of its competitors. Sadly, during testing the first prototype of the G.91 would crash due to aeroelastic vibrations in February 1957. Although this proved to be a setback, it did not stop the interest from the Italian Air Force, and the G.91 would still enter the second round of the NATO competition as scheduled, shortly thereafter announced as the winner in January 1958. After extensive testing of the Fiat G.91, and some refinement to the design, the first official major order from the Italian government would arrive, which initially ordered 23 examples of the production version of the G.91.
The production version of the Fiat G.91 was the G.91 R, which was specifically intended for both close air support and photo-reconnaissance. It was armed with 4 x 12.7 mm Browning M3 machine guns which would be placed in the front of the aircraft. It also had 2 pylons which were able to carry a multitude of payload options, which included unguided rockets and bombs. The first production aircraft would be completed by 1959, and the R/1 entered Italian Air Force service with 14th Gruppo in March 1961. In total, 48 of this model would be built. Later on, 2 new variants of the G.91 R/1 would appear, called G.91 R/1A and G.91 R1/B, these would be extensively upgraded and had a reinforced airframe, updated avionics and stronger air-brakes. One of the many things that this new version of the G.91 could do was allow the installation of AS-20 Nords, which would be extensively trialled by the Italian Air Force, and later on applied to more advanced G.91 variants.
The overwhelming success of the G.91 in Italian service would further convince other NATO alliance members to begin to place orders, one of them being Germany. Germany had shown great interest in the aircraft, mainly due its great flight characteristics and the ability to modify the aircraft to suit a nation's operational needs. Thus, Germany would order 50 examples of the G.91 R/3. The G.91 R/3 was a modified version of G.91, removing the Browning .50 cal machine guns in favour for 2 x 30 mm DEFA cannons, included with that would be the improved avionics package that were present on the G.91 R/1A and R/1B, allowing the installation of AS-20 Nords. Lastly the R/3 would receive 2 more pylons, which would give the aircraft a total of 4 pylons. Germany had liked this version so much so that they decided to buy the rights to produce this aircraft, which spawned another 294 versions built in Germany.
Eventually the R/3 would lead to the R/4, a hybrid version of both the G.91 R/1 and G.91 R/3, which would keep the advanced avionics and pylons from the R/3 but would instead revert back to the 4 Browning machine guns from the R/1. As previously stated, many NATO member would be interested, the R/4 was supposed to have been sold to the nations of Greece and Turkey, but after the USA stepped in and offered their aircraft and a cheaper price, the sale fell through and ended up entering West German service instead. However what makes the R/4 well known was mainly due to the extensive service it had inside of the Portuguese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa) during their colonial wars against Angola, Mozambique, and other domains of the former Portuguese empire. Portugal had interest in the aircraft, they'd get 110 of them surplus from Germany. They'd partially put it in service to replace the obsolete F-84 Thunderjets and F-86 Sabres that they had in service. The Portuguese Air Force would be the only user of the G.91 series of vehicles to actually use in active combat, the first Portuguese air group to enter active service with the new aircraft was the "121st Tigres Squadron" commanded by Lieutenant Egídio Lopes in April of 1966 in Bissalanca, Guinea. The department commanded by Lopes thus formed a quick reaction force done to support the action of the land units in counter-guerrilla operations, which at times also provided them photo reconnaissance missions, starting from the last quarter of 1966 when the G.91 reached an acceptable level of operational readiness. The G.91 R/4 was liked by its users, so much so that the aircraft had been given the nickname of 'Gina' in Portuguese service, the nickname is still popular nowadays with many ex-servicemen whom operated the G.91.
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