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Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter)

Kingdom of Italy (1918)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter) Biplane Fighter Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 7/18/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter)  
Picture of Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter) Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Ansaldo A.1 Balilla became Italy's first true indigenous fighter design to emerge in World War 1.

The Ansaldo A 1 Balilla ("Hunter") was the first aircraft fighter design of Italian origins. Italian forces consistently used French-designed aircraft in the early years of the war, leading the Ansaldo Italian firm to create the A.1 as a biplane fight with exceptional speed for the time but suspect handling qualities that did not endear the machine to pilots. Additionally, the A 1 appeared in the final stages of the First World War, limiting its use to post-war defense of Italy. Some models found their war into American hands and were converted to air racers fitted with a Curtiss powerplant. Still others would see combat at the hands of Russian and Polish flyers in the Russo-Polish war in 1920.

The Ansaldo A 1 Balilla was a basic biplane fighter design but sported a four-blade propeller system tied to a 220 horsepower SPA 6A water-cooled in-line engine. A single pilot saw behind the biplane wing structure and had good visibility forward and above. Armament consisted of two 7.62mm British Vickers machine guns mounted forward of the cockpit seating area in a forward-firing fixed position. Flight time for the system amounted to 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Any available statistics for the Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter) Biplane Fighter 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).
Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter) Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Kingdom of Italy
Year: 1918
Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Ansaldo - Italy
Production: 108
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Length: 22.47 ft (6.85 m)
Width: 25.20 ft (7.68 m)
Height: 8.30 ft (2.53 m)
MTOW: 1,951 lb (885 kg)

Installed Power
1 x SPA 6A water-cooled in-line engine developing 220 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 137 mph (220 kph; 119 kts)
Service Ceiling: 16,404 ft (5,000 m; 3.11 mi)

2 x .303 caliber Vickers machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

Operators List
Kingdom of Italy; Poland; Imperial Russia; United States

Series Model Variants
• A 1 Balilla - Base Production Model Designation
• Balilla Racer - Modified Post-War Variant; fitted with Curtiss K-12 engine for air racing in the United States of America.