Outbreak of war 1914 spurred sudden need for aircraft. Lacking Italian designs, Fiat obtained licence for Farman 5b, produced at Fiat shops in Via Madama Cristina, Turin, and later at larger Locati coachbuilding factory on Via Nizza, first being flown at Mirafiori 7 October 1915 by Fiat test pilot 2nd Lt. Brach-Papa. Soon output reached 30 per month. Meanwhile Fiat collaborated on SP 1 (see Pomilio) and handled main production. Early 1916 switched to SP 2, and 5 June 1916 formed Fiat aviation company, Società Italiana Aviazione (SIA), occupying large new factory and hangars at Mirafiori. Produced 115 SP 2, followed early 1917 by SP 3, but needed more modern (tractor) aircraft, and late 1916 chief designer Ing. Torretta produced SIA 7b (June 1917), outstanding 2-seater, soon flown to Naples and back, and then to London, in each case non-stop. Meanwhile, Fiat produced massive Ai4 engine of 600 hp, 2 being used in SIA 14b (also called SIA 1200), flown November 1917 but not put into production. Instead 7b1 (260-hp A12) and 7b2 (300-hp A12bis, and strengthened cabane strut joints) were built to total of 505, followed by larger SIA 9b (700-hp A14), of which 62 delivered of 500 ordered by Armistice. In summer 1918 Celestino Rosatelli became chief designer, eliminating previous structural problems and with Ing. Gamba designing R.2 (30 July 1918) derived from 7b2. R.2 built post-war as Fiat BR.2, SIA being renamed early 1918 Fiat Aviazione.

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