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Caproni AP.1

Kingdom of Italy (1936)
Picture of Caproni AP.1 Fighter-Bomber Aircraft
Picture of Caproni AP.1 Fighter-Bomber Aircraft

Poor performance eventually led to the Caproni AP.1 being replaced within the Regia Aeronautica.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Caproni AP.1 Fighter-Bomber Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/31/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

A pair of Ca.301 prototypes served as the basis for a new Italian attack aircraft. The original design sported a low-set monoplane wing arrangement, fixed landing gear legs and a single-seat cockpit held well-forward on the fuselage. The radial piston engine was mounted at the extreme front end of the design. From the outset, the Ca.301 was intended as a fighter and proved an adequate design attempt but she was later revised to incorporate a second crewmember and provisions for bombs in the fighter-bomber role. Construction was of metal and wood, incorporating a few modern features such as a streamlined shape, three-bladed propeller and low monoplane wings while retaining several old ones including use of an open air cockpit and fixed landing gear. At this stage in military aviation, there was a concerted move towards all-metal aircraft and the Ca.301 design stood as something of an "in between" effort. The first of the two, twin-seat prototypes was made airborne on April 27th, 1934 with a period of evaluation following. The type was accepted into service by the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) - which netted some 36 production forms in its first order - and the C.305 was formally introduced into operational service in 1936.

The Caproni AP.1 was crewed by two personnel with the pilot in the forward cockpit and an observer in a rear cockpit. The aircraft featured a fuselage length of 30 feet, 8 inches, a wingspan of 42 feet, 8 inches and a height of 9 feet, 10 inches. Power was derived from a single Alfa Romeo brand 126 RC.34 series radial piston engine of 780 horsepower. This supplied the aircraft with a top speed of 216 miles per hour, a range of 935 miles and a service ceiling of approximately 21,300 feet. Armament was a mixed affair and unimpressive, made up of a pair of 7.7mm Breda SAFAT machine guns (fixed forward in the wings) and a 12.7mm heavy machine gun (trainable in the rear cockpit). Up to 1,100lbs of external stores could be carried and primarily centered around conventional drop bombs.
Early service satisfied the Regia Aeronautica enough for it to secure procurement of a second batch of aircraft to be known under the designation of Ca.307. These were, however, modified with a few requirements set forth by the Regia Aeronautica that included the installation of a more powerful engine for improved performance. The Caproni AP.1 eventually made up four total flight groups encompassing eight total squadrons. The South American nations of Paraguay and El Salvador both utilized the type to some degree in their respective air arms as well but none in greater numbers than the Regia Aeronautica. Those sold to Paraguay were designated by Caproni as the "Ca.308".

At the time of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) over the Iberian Peninsula between the Republicans and the Nationalists, Italy fielded the Caproni AP.1 in some numbers alongside German mounts. The Germans, in particular, used the battleground as a precursor to the upcoming global war of which Italy would soon become a part. However, the battlefield had advanced at such a quickening pace since the early 1930s that the AP.1 was soon shown to be outmatched by various enemy types it faced off against in the Spanish conflict (a fate faced by many-an-Italian aircraft in World War 2). Her old-school, new-world design approach also ensured that she made a poor gunnery platform in air-to-air duels. Her value was more so in her bomb delivery forte and even then the mount proved limiting. As such, the combat history of the AP.1 was rather short in length and disappointing, ultimately left to the pages of military aviation history and nothing more.

Some 86 AP.1s were believed to have been produced by Caproni.






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: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (216mph).

    Graph average of 225 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 Caproni AP.1'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
86
86


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: Kingdom of Italy
Year: 1936
Type: Fighter-Bomber Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Caproni - Italy
Production: 86
Global Operators:
El Salvador; Kingdom of Italy; Paraguay
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 Caproni AP.1 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
30.64 ft


Meters
9.34 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
42.68 ft


Meters
13.01 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.84 ft


Meters
3 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
4,277 lb


Kilograms
1,940 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Alfa Romeo 126 RC.34 radial piston engine developing 780 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
216 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
347 kph


Knots
187 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
932 mi


Kilometers
1,500 km


Nautical Miles
810 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
21,325 ft


Meters
6,500 m


Miles
4.04 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
2 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT general purpose machine guns in wings.
1 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT heavy machine gun in rear trainable cockpit mounting.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 1,102lbs of munitions.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ca.301 - Prototype Designation; two examples completed.
• Ca.305 (AP.1bis) - Initial Production Example Designation.
• Ca.307 - Second Production Example Designation
• Ca.308 - Export aircraft for Paraguay Air Force; at least seven examples.