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Ansaldo SVA (Primo)

Kingdom of Italy (1917)
Picture of Ansaldo SVA (Primo) High-Speed Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft

Over 1,200 of the Ansaldo SVA biplanes were constructed into the latter half of the 1920s - operators were global and ranged from Argentina to Yugoslavia.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Ansaldo SVA (Primo) High-Speed Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/7/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Italian aero-concern of Ansaldo was a player in the air war of World War 1 (1914-1918) and contributed some notable designs to the Allied cause. One offering became the Ansaldo SVA (Savoia-Verduzio), a unequal-span, biplane-winged single-seat reconnaissance platform. The type went on to be produced across 1,245 total examples, recording a first-flight in 1917. Production of the aircraft did not cease until 1927 - and amazing feat for a World War 1-era warbird. Its design is attributed to Umberto Savoia and Rodolfo Verduzio.

The SVA was originally designed along the lines of high-speed fighter platform but, despite its impressive straight-line performance (reaching up to 140 miles per hour), it failed in its given role and was, instead, relegated to reconnaissance duties for its time in the conflict. In this over-battlefield role, the SVA excelled for it held the top qualities needed of a reconnaissance mount - altitude, range and speed. This newfound role ensured the Ansaldo design would see service through to the end of the war and beyond - indeed the series managed some of the longest reconnaissance missions of the war, giving excellent service for what was expected of it. Many flights of over 300 miles were recorded during the war years and some even after, including a historic flight from Rome to Tokyo which covered some 11,250 miles.

The SVA.1 marked the first, one-off prototype used to test the viability of the SVA design. This led to the initial batch of 65 production-minded SVA.2 series aircraft. The ISVA was formed from this mark to become a floatplane off-shoot and fifty were constructed for the Italian Navy. The SVA.4 marked the first "true" production-quality models and lost the portside Vickers machine gun installation as a weight-savings measure (AER produced this mark as the SVA.3 and the SVA.3 Ridotto ("Reduced") was a speedy, lighter weight interceptor offshoot).

The definitive production mark became the SVA.5 "Primo" which sported an SPA 6A series engine of 200 horsepower. Performance included a maximum speed of 140 miles per hour, a range out to 420 miles and a service ceiling of 19,700 feet. Armament centered on 2 x Vickers .303 machine guns as well as a modest bombload of 200lb (the SVA could be fielded as a light bomber beyond its intended reconnaissance duties).

This was followed by a prototype bomber form in the SVA.6 and another one-off prototype as the SVA.8. Larger-area wings greeted the unarmed reconnaissance-minded SVA.9 and the SVA.10 retained a two-seat configuration and reconnaissance mission role but was completed with the Isotta-Fraschini engine of 250 horsepower. This mark was defensed by way of two machine guns - one fixed, forward-firing and the other a trainable Lewis Gun installation.

Operators of the SVA series (beyond Italy) included Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Georgia, Latvia, Paraguay, Poland, the Soviet Union, the United States, Uruguay and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

In 1918, Ansaldo released the A.1 "Balilla" biplane fighter (detailed elsewhere on this site) - another mount capable of reaching near-140 mph speeds. However this was a late-war design and just over 100 were produced, none seeing combat service in the conflict. It was Italy's only indigenously designed and produced fighter aircraft of the war - fulfilling the role the SVA series failed to.

Any available statistics for the Ansaldo SVA (Primo) High-Speed Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (143mph).

    Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Ansaldo SVA.5's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1245
1245


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Kingdom of Italy
Year: 1917
Type: High-Speed Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Gio. Ansaldo & Company - Italy
Production: 1,245
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Ecuador; Kingdom of Italy; Georgia; Latvia; Paraguay; Poland; Soviet Union; United States; Uruguay; Yugoslavia
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Ansaldo SVA.5 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
26.57 ft


Meters
8.1 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
29.86 ft


Meters
9.1 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
8.69 ft


Meters
2.65 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,499 lb


Kilograms
680 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,315 lb


Kilograms
1,050 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x SPA 6A engine developing 200 horsepower and driving two-bladed propeller in nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
143 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
230 kph


Knots
124 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
429 mi


Kilometers
690 km


Nautical Miles
373 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
19,685 ft


Meters
6,000 m


Miles
3.73 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
980 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
299 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

STANDARD:
2 x 0.303 Vickers machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 200lb of conventional drop stores.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• SVA - Base Series Designation
• SVA.1 - One-off prototype
• SVA.2 - Initial production aircraft; 65 examples
• ISVA - Floatplane derivative of SVA.2; 50 examples for Italian Navy service.
• SVA.3 - SVA.4 models produced by AER
• SVA.3 "Ridotto" - Reduced-weight version for Zeppelin-busting; optional obliquely-mounted machine gun fit.
• SVA.4 - Production model; sans portside machine gun
• SVA.5 - Definitive production model
• SVA.6 - Prototype bomber; one-off
• SVA.8 - Prototype; one-off
• SVA.9 - Twin-seat unarmed reconnaissance platform / training aircraft.
• SVA.10 - Twin-seat armed reconnaissance platform; Isotta-Fraschini engines of 250 horsepower; flexible Lewis Gun in rear cockpit.