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Caproni Vizzola F.4


Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter Prototype (1940)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Image from the Public Domain.

Jump-to: Specifications

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



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/08/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
In the run-up to World War 2 (1939-1945), during the latter part of 1937, the Italian aero-concern of Caproni went to work on a new, all-modern low-wing, single-seat / single-engine monoplane fighter. The engineering team was led by F. Fabrizi and this endeavor ultimately yielded two similar fighting aircraft in prototype form - the Caproni-Vizzola "F.4" and "F.5" - which began a new fighter line that culminated with the "F.6". None of these aircraft achieved much during their time aloft, becoming nothing more than footnotes in Italian military aviation history.

The F.4, the focus of this article, was completed by a traditional mixed construction process in which both wood and metal played a major part in its makeup. A welded steel tube framework made up the support structure surrounding the internals. The cockpit seated one and was fully-enclosed at midships. The engine was fitted to the nose ahead of the cockpit in the usual way and drove a three-bladed propeller unit in puller fashion. The tail unit had a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes. The wing mainplanes, made of wood, were set low against the fuselage sides and were slim and rounded in their general appearance. For ground-running, a typical tail-dragger undercarriage was used (wholly retractable). The aircraft was skinned over in plywood at the wings and duralumin at the fuselage with flushed rivets used for an inherent aerodynamic quality.

It was planned that the new F.4 would carry a indigenous Isotta-Fraschini "Asso" 121 R.C.40 series liquid-cooled, 12-cylinder inline piston engine of 960 horsepower output. However, the Regia Aeronautica's preference for another engine type for its fleet of fighters forced the F.4 to sit idle for the time being as attention was passed to the radial-powered F.5 instead.

The fortunes for the F.4 changed some when, in the summer of 1939, the Kingdom of Italy's relationship with the Germans paid off and Daimler-Benz DB601A inline engines were becoming available in number to the German wartime ally. With Italian authority approval, this engine was fitted into the final pre-production form of the F.5 series to beget what would essentially become the prototype F.4. This then led to a first-flight recorded in July of 1940 - by which point World War 2 (1939-1945) was already in full swing and the Italian commitment ever-growing. The engine was to be licensed-produced locally by Alfa-Romeo when the time came.

As a combat fighter platform, the F.4 would be modestly armed by standards of the period - proposed armament was nothing more than a pair of 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts.

Plans were underway to produce the new fighter as the "F.5bis" but the arrival of the Daimler-Benz DB605 series inlines, and steps taken to fit these more powerful engines to the newer "F.6" fighter, meant that the F.4 had no foreseeable future in the Regia Aeronautica. As such, it was relegated to testing for the remainder of its service life, this with 303 Squadriglia, and its days came to an abrupt end during 1942.

As tested, the aircraft could reach a maximum speed of 342 miles per hour through cruising was closer to 305 miles per hour. Range was out to 435 miles and its service ceiling reached 32,800 feet.

The F.5 fared a little better with several prototypes and twelve preproduction units completed. The F.6 faced development difficulties and delays itself and was tested into August of 1943. However, the Italians capitulated that September, brining about the final end for this Fabrizi fighter line.

Specifications



Service Year
1940

Origin
Kingdom of Italy national flag graphic
Kingdom of Italy

Status
CANCELLED
Development Ended.
Crew
1

Production
1
UNITS


Caroni Vizzola SA Division (Caproni) - Italy
National flag of Italy National flag of the Kingdom of Italy Kingdom of Italy (cancelled)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.


Length
29.2 ft
(8.90 m)
Width/Span
37.1 ft
(11.30 m)
Height
9.5 ft
(2.90 m)
Empty Wgt
5,434 lb
(2,465 kg)
MTOW
6,614 lb
(3,000 kg)
Wgt Diff
+1,179 lb
(+535 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Caproni Vizzola F.4 production variant)
Installed: 1 x Daimler-Benz DB601A V12 inline piston engine developing 1,175 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller at the nose.
Max Speed
342 mph
(550 kph | 297 kts)
Ceiling
32,808 ft
(10,000 m | 6 mi)
Range
435 mi
(700 km | 1,296 nm)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Caproni Vizzola F.4 production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
PROPOSED:
2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0


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


General Assessment
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
22
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (342mph).

Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Caproni Vizzola F.4 operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Design Balance
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (1)
1
36183
44000
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
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