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Ansaldo A.120

Ansaldo A.120. Photo courtesy Markus Verburg

A.120 Ady: Of metal construction covered almost entirely with fabric, the A.120 was a simple parasol wing monoplane typical of European design in the mid-1920’s. The type was based on a rectangular section fuselage carrying a nose mounted engine and its associated radiator, the cockpits for the pilot and observer/gunner and the tail unit. The tail unit was a braced structure including an aerodynamically balanced rudder and two aerodynamically balanced elevator halves, all three surfaces having wire trailing edges that resulted in a scalloped effect. The wing was supported over the fuselage by a standard cabane strut arrangement and had a large center section cutout in the trailing edge to improve the pilots upward fields of vision. The wing carried outboard ailerons and was braced to the lower longerons by two struts on each side. The airframe was completed by a fixed tail skid landing gear with a main unit of the through axle type.

The A.120 was developed from the A.115m and A.115bis parasol wing monoplanes and first flew in the form of two prototypes in 1925 combining the parasol wing with a fuselage based largely on the Dewoitine D.1 and D.9 fighters built in Italy under license by Ansaldo. Ansaldo became a subsidiary of Fiat in 1926. The two prototypes were the A.120 reconnaissance fighter using a 400 hp Lorraine 12Db Vee piston engine and the A.120bis reconnaissance airplane using the 400 hp Fiat A.20A Vee piston engine. In 1926, there appeared a revised A.120 with an improved fuselage, tail unit and landing gear. The new plane, the A.120 Ady, started out with the Lorraine engine, but was evaluated with the Fiat A.20 and A.22 engines and it was the latter that was selected in the A.22T form with a saddle type radiator installation for the production model, of which 57 were built. Other orders were received from Austria – 2 airplanes and Lithuania – 12 aircraft. Lithuania was the last operator of the type, its surviving machines operating in the army co-operation role and being taken over and subsequently scrapped by the Soviet air force after the Soviets annexed Lithuania in 1940.

A.120R: This was an improved version of the A.120 Ady with the A.22R Vee piston engine unsing a tunnel type radiator under the nose and featured a revised observer/gunner’s cockpit with a larger windscreen and rounded glazed side panels. Austria took six aircraft.

A total of 77 units were built.

Model Ansaldo A.120
Horsepower 550 hp
Engine One Fiat A.22T Vee piston engine
Max Speed 158 MPH
Ceiling 22,965 ft
Endurance 7 Hours
Users Italy, Austria and Lithuania
Crew 2
Armament One or two 7.7mm fixed forward firing machine guns and one flexible 7.7mm machine gun in rear fuselage

and disposable stores on one under fuselage hardpoint

Article by JDG

Wings: London Blitz to Pearl Harbor – CD-ROM (Discovery Channel Multimedia: Wings)
Elke Weale, Combat Aircraft of World War II, Bracken Books, 1985.