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Caquot Type R

Battlefield Observation Balloon

United States | 1916

"The Caquot Type R was relied on by the Americans during its commitment to World War 1 - to a lesser extent with the British as well."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Caquot Type R Battlefield Observation Balloon.
4,003 ft
1,220 m | 0 miles
Service Ceiling
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Caquot Type R Battlefield Observation Balloon.
91.9 ft
28.00 m
O/A Length
32.8 ft
(10.00 m)
O/A Width
Notable series variants as part of the Caquot Type R family line.
Type R - Base Series Name.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/03/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

During World War 1 (1914-1918), the United States - like other powers in the conflict - put a premium on observation balloons for general reconnaissance duties. The observation balloon was used to good effect during the American Civil War (1861-1865) where forces could spy on one another's positons and movements at range, relatively safe from any ground-based fire. The "rigid-style" airship was born sometime after in 1890 when the first such form went airborne for the first time on November 3rd, 1897 - powered by a Daimler 12 horsepower engine, it was designed by Austro-Hungarian David Schwartz and launched from Templehof Airport in Berlin.

During the First World War, Germany employed a fleet of rigid airships through its Zeppelin brand label and operated these as both observation and bombing platforms for a time. Their value and contribution were such that balloon-hunting squadrons were arranged by the Allies to reduce the enemy's effectiveness with the platform. In time, the dedicated strategic bomber overtook the role originally assigned to Zeppelin fleets.

France followed suit and utilized semi-rigid airship designs early in the conflict until their limitations were clearly showcased. Non-rigid types (also known as "Blimps") for the French (and British) continued to be fielded in the non-direct-contact maritime role where they provided excellent over-the-horizon capabilities to warships and at strategic waterways in danger of enemy attack.

If the airship had one key quality it was in its ability to stay aloft for extended periods of time - an advantage not yet held by manned, fixed-wing powered aircraft of the period.

Against this backdrop, the Americans went to war in France with the Caquot Type R in its arsenal. This observation balloon was developed by French Lieutenant Albert Caquot and showcased a length of 92 feet and width of 32 feet. The design held the ability to remain on station in winds as high as 70 miles-per-hour through its hydrogen gas filling. While American industry produced some 1,000 of the Type R for use in the war (where they were fielded over the Wester Front in France), the type was also manufactured - on a much limited scale - by the British during the subsequent World War (1939-1945). In British hands, the line ran into the 1960s as they participated in various data-collecting tasks such as parachute testing.

The baskets could hold two personnel and raise up to a height of about 4,000 feet under load, giving unfettered views for miles. U.S. forces relied on this capability for artillery direction and sighting enemy aircraft at range.

Despite their inherent fragility, semi-rigid and rigid airships continued to be used in the post-war years, designs even seeing extended development / experimentation to bring about more value out of the concept. Some were to serve as "motherships" to accompanying pursuit fighters while others set records in long distance flight. Still others were used in much the same commercial airliners are today, ferrying passengers from Point A to Point B.

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Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Caquot Type R. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1,100 Units

Contractor(s): Albert Caquot / Goodyear Aerospace Corporation - USA
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Going Further...
The Caquot Type R Battlefield Observation Balloon appears in the following collections:
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