Warplane Wednesday

Warplane Wednesday: Macchi MC200 Lightning


The Macchi MC200 Saetta (Lightning) was the Regia Aeronautica’s primary monoplane fighter early in the Second World War. The Italians introduced the aircraft in small numbers before entering the war in June 1940. By 1942-1943, the MC200 was obsolete. They replaced it in the fighter interceptor role with the newer MC202 and MC205. It proved a decent fighter-bomber, supporting the defence of the islands of Pantelleria and Sicily. Only 33 of the type remained serviceable when Italy withdrew from the Axis on 8 September 1943. The Italians used them as training aircraft into the early post-war period.  

Specifications (MC200CB)

Type: single-seat fighter/fighter-bomber

Powerplant: one 649kW (870hp) Fiat A.74 RC.38 14-cylinder two-row radial engine

Performance: maximum speed 503km/h (312mph); climb to 5000m (16,405ft) in 5 minutes 51 seconds; service ceiling 8900m (29,200ft); range 870km (541 miles)

Weights: empty 2019kg (4451lb); normal take-off 2339kg (5597lb)

Wingspan: 10.58m (34ft 9in)

Length: 8.19m (26ft 10in)

Height: 3.51m (11ft 6in)

Armament: two 12.7mm (0.5in) fixed forward-firing machine guns in the upper part of the forward fuselage, plus an external bomb load of 320kg (705lb)


The following Regia Aeronautica units flew the MC200 in the defence of Sicily:

  • 157 Gruppo Caccia Terrestre
    • 163 Squadriglia
    • 357 Squadriglia
    • 371 Squadriglia

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