Caproni Ca.4 / Ca.40 / Ca.41 / Ca.42 / Ca.48 / Ca.52 / Ca.58 / Ca.1000HP
In parallel with the Ca 3 biplane bomber, Caproni also evolved a comparatively small series of bomber triplanes, collectively designated Ca 4. Larger than the Ca 3, the first three Ca 4s (Ca 40) appeared in late 1917 and were powered by three 200-hp Isotta-Fraschinis engines. One engine was mounted to drive a pusher propeller at the rear of the central crew nacelle, and the other two were tractor-mounted in front of the middle wing leading edge in the noses of the twin booms. The crew was increased to five, by virtue of having two separate rear gunner positions (one in each fuselage boom) instead of the single, central cage position on the Ca 3. The prototype and the first three production Ca.4s had angular crew nacelles, but all later examples of the Ca.1000HP (its initial designation arising from the total horsepower provided by the prototype's engines) had carefully contoured rounded nacelles. A third gunner's cockpit was located at the front of the nacelle forward of the side-by-side cockpits for the pilot and co-pilot.
The first Ca 4s were underpowered, and the 12 which followed (Ca 41) were uprated to three 270-hp IF engines, having also an oval-section central nacelle with tandem seating for the two pilots.
The principal (Ca 42) versions reverted to side-by-side pilot seating and were also fitted with uprated 223.6kW Fiat A.12s, 223.6kW Isotta-Fraschini V.5s or 298kW Liberty engines. Even with the extra power, they were regarded as too slow for daylight operations, and were employed chiefly as night bombers, carrying up to 1450 kg (3197 lb) in a coffin-shaped container between the main units of the landing gear.
The Ca. 42 could carry a 1450-kg (3200-lb) bomb load over a long range, but the type was difficult to fly, and being slow, was vulnerable to fighter attack despite an arsenal of defensive weapons, including machine-guns and a cannon on some examples. Twenty-three were built, mostly for the Italian Navy, who used them on night bombing raids and in daylight against the Austrians during the final assault at Vittorio Veneto. Six Liberty-powered Ca.42s were supplied to the British Royal Naval Air Service, though they apparently never left Italy.
The British Government requested the Italian authorities a few copies of the Ca 42 in order to evaluate it. Caproni built 6 airplane designated Ca.52, differing from the Italian model by Lewis guns paired in the front seat of the fuselage and space for British bomb sizes. They received the RNAS serials N526 to N531 and were used briefly by No. 6 Squadron in Otranto (Italy) and then returned to Italy.
Variants of the triplane Ca 4 series included a twin-engined, twin-float torpedo bomber prototype (Ca 43), and two (Ca 51 and Ca 52) which featured a biplane tail unit, incorporating a rearward-firing gun position.
Total production of all versions of the Ca.4 was 42.
One Ca.4 was converted to a seaplane by the substitution of huge twin floats for the land undercarriage. Post-war, the Ca.48 23-passenger conversion made a notable flight from Milan to London in 1919. Another civil conversion for 30 passengers was tested the following year under the designation Ca.58.
The British Government requested the Italian authorities a few copies of the bomber triplane Caproni Ca 42
in order to evaluate it. Caproni built six aircraft designated Ca.52 which differed from the Italian model by mounting a pair of Lewis guns in the front seat of the fuselage and a bombay for British bomb sizes.
The aircraft received RNAS serials from N526 to N531 and were used briefly by No. 6 Squadron in Otranto (Italy) and then returned to Italy.
Engines: 3 x Isotta-Fraschini, 190kW
Max. speed: 126 km/h / 78 mph
Ceiling: 3000 m / 9850 ft
Armament: 4 x 6.5mm machine-guns, 1450kg of bombs
Engines: 3 x Fiat or Isotta-Fraschini, 200 hp.
Gross weight: 6440-kg (14,200-lb).
Maximum speed: 125 kph (78 mph).
Wing span: 130 ft.
Engines: Liberty, 400-hp.
Span: 29.90 m (98 ft 1.25 in)
Length: 15.10 m (49 ft 6.5 in)
Gross weight: 7500 kg (16535 1b)
Maximum speed: 140 km/h (87 mph)