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The Fiat G.91 was conceived following the Korean War as the winning design submitted to the NBMR-1 NATO competition. The NBMR-1 competition was an ambitious project to develop a light weight strike fighter that would be operated in common by a number of NATO member nations. Powered by the British Bristol Siddley Orpheus turbojet, the G-91 first flew during August 1956. The G.91 saw service with the Italian, German and Portuguese air forces and over 750 aircraft were eventually produced. The G.91 was eventually developed into the G-91Y which was based on the longer trainer variant and fitted with two General Electric J85 engines giving it much more power, longer range whilst also carrying a heavier payload.
The Italian Air Force first received the G.91 in 1958 in a pre-production form for testing, with full production versions being delivered from 1961 onwards. These original 16 pre-production aircraft were converted during 1964/1965 into the G.91PAN, a specialised aerobatic version for use by the national display team, the Frecce Tricolori. The G.91 served in a variety of roles in the Italian Air Force including trainer, reconnaissance and attack, the Italians were also the sole operator of the more powerful G.91Y variant. The Fiat G.91 was finally retired from service in 1995.
The Fiat G.91 that is appearing at RIAT 2023 on static display as part of our ground celebraton of the Italian centenery is the only airworthy example in the world. Having only recently flown, the aircraft was made airworthy specifically to take part in the national celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Italian Air Force which peaked with a celebratory airshow at Pratica di Mare in June 2023. The last time a G.91 appeared at the Air Tattoo was 30 years ago when a pair of Portuguese G.91R appeared on static display at the 1993 Air Tattoo. Photo Credit: Colin Cooke