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Caproni Vizzola F.4 - Kingdom of Italy, 1940

Detailing the development and operational history of the Caproni Vizzola F.4 Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter Prototype.

 Entry last updated on 5/31/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Caproni Vizzola F.4  
Picture of Caproni Vizzola F.4

Just one prototype was built of the Caproni Vizzola F.4 fighter - it was equipped with the German DB601 series inline engine.

Beginning in late 1937, Caproni Vizzola SA undertook private development of a new, all-modern monoplane fighter with design attributed to F. Fabrizi. Modern features such as an enclosed cockpit, retractable undercarriage and steel-tubed fuselage were included and wood made up the wing mainplane under-structure and were skinned over in wood. The fuselage was skinned over in metal (duralumin with flushed rivets). The aircraft was designated F.4 ("Fabrizi 4") and its airframe was also used in the related F.5 which was designed in parallel.

The F.4 was to carry the Isotta-Fraschini 'Asso' 121 R.C.40 12-cylinder liquid-cooled inline piston engine of 960 horsepower. The F.5 relied on the Fiat A.74 R.C.38 twin-row, 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine. The choice of engine dictated the shape of the forward fuselage but either installation drove a three-bladed propeller.

Proposed armament for the F.4 was 2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns.

The Italian Air Ministry's prejudice against the Asso inline engine meant that the F.5 initially received the attention to further its design. However, in mid-1939, the F.4 product was revisited, largely due to the fact that the Italians began to receive the German Daimler-Benz DB601A series inline. A pre-production quality airframe of the F.5 was used to make up the revised F.4 and in this form the aircraft first-flew in July of 1940.

However, the design fell behind others and only a single prototype was realized before the project came to an end. This example was fielded experimentally with the 303(a) Squadron of Italy and flew into 1942. The F.6 model superseded it with its German Daimler-Benz DB605 series inline engine but only two prototypes of this design were built. For its part, the F.5 fighter was built in thirteen examples.

Performance-wise, the F.4 managed a maximum speed of 342 miles per hour, a cruising speed of 304 miles per hour, a range out to 435 miles and a service ceiling of 32,800 feet.

Caproni Vizzola F.4 Specifications

Service Year: 1940
Type: Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter Prototype
National Origin: Kingdom of Italy
Manufacturer(s): Caroni Vizzola SA Division (Caproni) - Italy
Total Production: 1

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 29.20 feet (8.9 meters)
Overall Width: 37.07 feet (11.30 meters)
Overall Height: 9.51 feet (2.90 meters)

Weight (Empty): 5,434 lb (2,465 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 6,614 lb (3,000 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 1 x Daimler-Benz DB601A V12 inline piston engine developing 1,175 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller at the nose.

Maximum Speed: 297 knots (342 mph; 550 kph)
Maximum Range: 378 nautical miles (435 miles; 700 km)
Service Ceiling: 32,808 feet (10,000 meters; 6.21 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Kingdom of Italy (cancelled)

Model Variants

F.4 ("Fabrizi 4") - Base Series Designation; single prototype completed.

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