In October 1937, the Belgian aircraft manufacturer Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques (SABCA) made a marketing agreement with the Italian company Caproni, with SABCA selling some of Caproni's military aircraft in certain markets, including the Caproni Ca.135, Ca.310 and the Ca.312, which were to be designated SABCA S.45bis, S.46 and S.48 respectively.
As part of this agreement, Caproni were to develop a replacement for the Belgium Air Force's Fairey Fox biplanes, which were used as two-seat fighters and reconnaissance aircraft, but were obsolete.
The task of designing the new type for SABCA, the Caproni Ca 335 Maestrale (Mistral), was given to Chief Engineer Cesare Pallavicino, who based the design on his earlier A.P.1 attack aircraft. It was a low-winged cantilever monoplane of mixed construction, with a metal skinned steel-tube fuselage and wood and fabric wings, powered by a single Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs V12 engine. It had a hydraulically actuated retractable tailwheel undercarriage, with the mainwheels retracting backwards into the wing. The whole back edge of the wing was covered with flaps. The pilot and observer were provided with individual, widely separated cockpits, with the observer having defensive armament of a single machine gun, and the pilot firing a Hispano-Suiza HS.404 moteur-canon firing through the propeller hub and two wing mounted machine guns, a small bomb bay housing two 50 kg (110 lb) bombs, while a further ten 50 kg (22 lb) bombs could be carried under the wings. The observer/rear gunner could also perform as auxiliary pilot, having a set of controls of his own.
The Ca 335 prototype was built at Caproni's Ponte San Pietro factory, making its maiden flight there on 16 February 1939, with test pilot Ettore Wengi at the controls. It was then dismantled and sent to SABCA's factory at Brussels by train. The next month, it was on display at the Salon International at Brussels. After reassembly, it flew again on 19 September 1939 under the civil registration OO-ATH and painted with Belgian military roundels from September 19th on, with SABCA´s chief test pilot Paul Burniat at the controls. With a speed of 501 (other source says even 515) km/h and a ceiling of 10.500 m, the aircraft showed very fine performances. Initial testing was successful, resulting in SABCA purchasing a license for manufacture of the Ca 335, and demonstrating it, now designated SABCA S.47, to officials of the Belgian Ministry of Defence on January 13th and representatives of a number of other nations. While the Belgian Air Force were impressed by the S.47, and had a requirement for 24 of them, SABCA's factory was busy with orders for 41 Breguet 693s for the Belgian Air Force and for France, and 10 Koolhoven F.K.58s for France, delaying a formal order being placed.
SABCA had purchased the manufacturing licence on November 30th, 1939. On January 1940 the Sabca S.40 was officially presented at Evere airfield to the Belgian authorities as well as to representatives of several foreign countries. On March 14th, 1940, the S.47 was flown together with the SABCA S.40 training aircraft to Orleans-Bricy (French test center), to be presented to officers of the French Armée de l'Air. There, because of bad weather conditions, the aircraft is slightly damaged in a landing accident, when it collided with a truck.
It had not been repaired when the Germans invaded France and the Low Countries, stopping SABCA's production plans. The prototype S.47 was captured by the advancing German forces on 13 June 1940. Attempts by Caproni to reclaim the S.47 were unsuccessful, it remaining in France until 1943, eventually being scrapped.
Engine: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs, 640 kW (860 hp) (take-off power)
Propeller: 3-bladed bladed constant speed
Length: 10.6109 m (34 ft 9.75 in)
Wingspan: 13.2017 m (43 ft 3.75 in)
Height: 3.20 m (10 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 23.80 m2 (256.2 sq ft)
Empty weight: 2,250 kg (4,960 lb)
Gross weight: 3,240 kg (7,143 lb) (reconnaissance mission)
Max takeoff weight: 3,350 kg (7,385 lb)
Maximum speed: 501 km/h; 270 kn (311 mph) at 4,200 m (13,780 ft)
Range: 1,576 km; 851 nmi (979 mi) at 4,000 m (13,120 ft) (reconnaissance mission)
Endurance: 4 hr 30 s
Service ceiling: 9,501 m (31,170 ft)
Time to 2,000 m (6,650 ft): 3 min 30 sec
Time to 6,000 m (19,685 ft): 15 min 20 s
1× 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 through propeller hub and two 7.62 mm FN Browning wing mg
1× FN Browning machine gun in rear cockpit
Bombs: 200 kg (440 lb) under wings and fuselageSabca