This question was originally posted in a different forum. You can read the thread here: Italian Aircraft Torpedo Development
Italian Aircraft Torpedo Development
I initially provided the following information.Web search turned up some information lite. I'm looking for reading/information of the why there was no aircraft launched torpedo development inter war, and about the late development leading to the limited 1940 production. Seems like a opportunity was missed.
From Verbali delle riunioni tenute dal Capo di SM Generale [Minutes of the meetings held by the Capo di SM Generale] tomo I, pp. 11-13. My clarifications in [ ]
26 January 1939
Recommendations and Special Topics
2. Torpedo bomber problem
S.E. BADOGLIO - This involves the purchase of 30 torpedoes for torpedo bombers.
There is a divergence of views between the Navy and Air Force on this issue. The same has happened in Germany.
S.E. CAVAGNARI - For me the problem of a torpedo for torpedo bombers is already solved. We made a type that can be launched from 120m altitude, at a speed of 300 km. No country has managed to make one that can be launched from more than 40-50m altitude and speed of 180-200k. Therefore I can no longer consider our torpedo in an experimental phase and, therefore, I believe that I should no longer have to pay for experiments.
S.E. VALLE - For the Air Force, this type of torpedo cannot be used.
S.E. CAVAGNARI - It must serve. Today, given the low speed difference between large ships and torpedo boats, it is more difficult for the latter to perform all their tasks (escort, reconnaissance, etc.) and therefore planes have to replace them [torpedo boats] in some situations of torpedo use.
The Air Force, on the other hand, envisages its possible use and, therefore, proposes the solution that all aircraft can be used for carrying torpedoes.
Carrying the torpedo and using it are, however, very different things. The problem is complex: it cannot be accepted that every aircraft can be used as a torpedo [bomber].
S.E. VALLE - I take note of the statements of S.E. Cavagnari. If the Navy passes the cost [money] of a flotilla of torpedoes to me, I am happy to build flocks of torpedo bombers.
S.E. CAVAGNARI - It is not a question of budget, but it is first of all a question of doctrine. When we agree on this point, we'll see.
S.E. VALLE - I believe, on the other hand, how it is treated in the budget. Just 4 years ago aircraft for the Navy cost 300,000 lire: today it costs 1 million and 500,000 lire; aircraft for the Army cost 270,000 lire: today it costs 1 million and 200,000 lire.
The budget of the Air Force is just 1 billion and 900 million and, indeed, practically 1,600,000,000; while the British budget is 20 billion and the French one 23 billion. And France can thus spend 12 billion on aviation materials and build 200 aircraft a month.
The Air Force is forced, for economy of means, to build aircraft, which with a well trained crew (ours are the best in the world) can be used for various forms of employment, namely bombing, torpedoing, transport, ground observation, and maritime observation.
If the Air Force had a few billion more, it could very well build units to be used solely as torpedo bombers.
S.E. CAVAGNARI ‐- I requested the stability of the personnel in the seaplane units but this has never been possible to obtain.
It is only human that an aviation officer does not stay for a long time in unwelcome locations such as those where seaplane units are located.
S.E. VALLEY - I refute this. Officers go where they go.
S.E. CAVAGNARI - The problem of launching is of such difficulty and delicacy as to require specialization obtainable only through continuous and exclusive training.
On the other hand, the tendency of aviation officers to chose fighter and bombing aviation and not seaplanes is undeniable in aviation officers.
S.E. VALLEY. - Absolutely not. The rotation of personnel in seaplane units is due to a completely different need and is absolutely no greater than that for other specialties.
But let's go back to the torpedoes.
The brilliant characteristics of the current type of torpedo that allows launching from 100 m. altitude, at a speed of 300 km per hour, were obtained on the basis of studies carried out by the Air Force in Guidonia. Germany has seen that we are the most advanced in this field and has ordered 300 torpedoes, to be delivered from June onwards: about 1 per day. The torpedo factory of Fiume naturally tends to have other orders: but, if the torpedo characteristics are good, more can and must be obtained, provided that today it is very difficult to approach warships given the power of the anti-aircraft defense, and, since all the aircraft now fly at 380 km. per hour in the approach phase, we want a torpedo that can be launched at 350 km. per hour.
We therefore believe that the order for the 30 torpedoes must be done to test the weapon with the squadrons and to obtain a type with better characteristics. When the new type [of torpedo] with excellent characteristics is approved, it will be switched to series production, which will be paid for by the Air Force. For now we are in an experimental phase which, as agreed, must be charged to the Navy.
In conclusion, for now the order of the 30 torpedoes cannot be considered as a normal series and the Air Force cannot commit ten million for their purchase.
S.E. CAVAGNARI - I repeat that the agreement established with the Air Force clearly states that the Navy will pay for the torpedo prototypes, and this the Navy has done. With the prototypes, the altitude and speed parameters set by the Whitehead company were brilliantly achieved in the tests in Fiume, as possible with the type of torpedo which has been realized.
Therefore the current production of 30 prototype torpedoes is no longer relevant to the Navy and therefore I believe I do not have to pay anything.
S.E. BADOGLIO - I will present the situation in question to the Head of Government and we will hear his decision.