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Caproni Ca.3 - Kingdom of Italy, 1917

Detailing the development and operational history of the Caproni Ca.3 Heavy Biplane Bomber Aircraft.

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

  Caproni Ca.3  
Picture of Caproni Ca.3
Picture of Caproni Ca.3

The Ca.36 was the definitive Italian bomber design by the end of World War 1.

The Caproni Ca.36 represented the definitive model in the C-bomber series debuted in 1914 as the C.31. The Ca.36 was a tremendous asset to allied operations against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire and were put into action as quickly as Italy declared war. Surprisingly, the system survived in limited numbers long enough to be used for a time by Mussolini in the opening salvos of Italian involvement in World War 2.

At its core, the Ca.36 was a three-engine biplane bomber of wood and fabric construction. The 1914 Ca.31 appeared with 3 x Gnome rotary type engines with the improved Ca.32 following a year later. The Ca.32 sported three FIAT brand engines of 100 horsepower and were of the water-cooled in-line variety. These particular models were pressed into action almost immediately against Austrian targets. As the was progressed, Gianni Caproni produced an improved C-bomber in the form of the Ca.33 which featured Isotta-Fraschini powerplants. The Ca.34 and Ca.35 were proposed but never produced variants that tried to seat the pilots in tandem in a central nacelle position.

The culmination of the C-series came about with the arrival of the Ca.36 which featured a sectioned wing assembly that could be taken apart into five pieces for easier storage. Armament of this type consisted of 2 x FIAT-Revelli machine guns of 6.5mm or 7.7mm caliber. As a heavy bomber, the Ca.36 could carry an impressive payload of up to 1,764 pounds of ordnance. The Ca.36S represented an air ambulance conversion model while the Ca.36M (or "mod") was a model designed to simplify wartime production.

Operators - as well as producers - of the bomber included Italy, the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America. Other proposed or slightly developed variants of the C-series included the Ca.37 prototype of a two-seat dedicated ground attack bomber, a seaplane derivative in the Ca.39 and the Ca.56a - which were remanufactured wartime Ca.3 bombers for use as civilian passenger transports.

Caproni Ca.3 (Ca.36) Specifications

Service Year: 1917
Type: Heavy Biplane Bomber Aircraft
National Origin: Kingdom of Italy
Manufacturer(s): Caproni - Italy
Total Production: 275

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 4
Overall Length: 36.25 feet (11.05 meters)
Overall Width: 74.61 feet (22.74 meters)
Overall Height: 12.14 feet (3.70 meters)

Weight (Empty): 5,071 lb (2,300 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 8,378 lb (3,800 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 3 x Isotta-Fraschini V.4B engine delivering 150 horsepower each.

Maximum Speed: 74 knots (85 mph; 137 kph)
Maximum Range: 323 nautical miles (372 miles; 599 km)
Service Ceiling: 15,892 feet (4,844 meters; 3.01 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 413 feet-per-minute (126 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 6.5mm OR 7.7mm FIAT-Revelli machine guns

Up to 1,764lb of bombs

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Kingdom of Italy; France; United Kingdom; United States

Model Variants

Ca.34 - Proposed Production Model; pilots in tandem seating.
Ca.35 - Proposed Production Model; pilots in tandem seating.
Ca.36 - Removable wing portions for improved storage of system.
Ca.36M - Post-War Model; refined production techniques.
Ca.36 mod - Post-War Model; refined production techniques.
Ca.36S - Air Ambulance Model
Ca.37 - Single Prototype Ground Attack Model; seating for two personnel.
Ca.39 - Proposed Seaplane Variant
Ca.56a - Civilian Passenger Transport Airliner Conversion Models.

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