|First flight||April 1934|
|Primary user||Regia Aeronautica|
|Number built||54 + 3 prototypes |
Design and development
Developed from the Ca.301, a single-seat fighter version of a similar design that was not put into production, the AP.1 was a two-seater version, fitted with a more powerful Alfa Romeo radial engine. Designed to serve both as a fighter and an attack aircraft, it was a low-wing monoplane with a fixed landing gear of mixed construction, having trouser-covered legs. Although it was a monoplane at a time when many of the air forces of the world were flying biplanes, the Caproni was still an anachronism with fixed landing gear (at that time, most aircraft also had fixed landing gear).
The AP.1 prototype first flew on 27 April 1934. An initial series of 12 aircraft was delivered within 1936. In the same year, the Regia Aeronautica ordered a second series with improvements including a more powerful Alfa Romeo engine and more aerodynamic landing gear. In service, the large landing gear trousers were often removed for ease of maintenance.
The Caproni AP.1 equipped a total of eight squadriglie (Italian air unit equivalent to half an RAF squadron) of the assault wings of the Regia Aeronautica. It took part in the Spanish Civil War, but its unsatisfactory performance led to its quick replacement with the Breda Ba.64, Ba.65 and Ba.88 types.
Four examples were acquired by El Salvador for use in the Escuadrilla de Caza (a fifth aircraft was shipped to replace an aircraft which crashed during a ferrying flight), and another seven were sold to Paraguay and used in the Chaco Postwar period (1939-1945). Another 10 aircraft ordered by Paraguay were diverted to the Regia Aeronautica.
- Ca.301 - Two single-seat fighter prototypes.
- Ca.305 - AP.1bis - Initial production version.
- Ca.307 - Second production version.
- Ca.308 - Seven aircraft sold to Paraguay.
- Kingdom of Italy : Regia Aeronautica
- 7° Gruppo (5° Stormo Assalto)
- 86° Squadriglia
- 98° Squadriglia
- 19° Gruppo (5° Stormo Assalto)
- 100° Squadriglia
- 102° Squadriglia
- 12° Gruppo (50° Stormo Assalto)
- 160° Squadriglia
- 165° Squadriglia
- 16° Gruppo (50° Stormo Assalto)
- 168° Squadriglia
- 169° Squadriglia
- 7° Gruppo (5° Stormo Assalto)
- Aviazione Legionaria
- Paraguay : Paraguayan Military Aviation
- 2° Escuadrilla de Caza
- El Salvador : El Salvador Air Force
- Spain : Spanish Air Force
- Crew: two
- Length: 9.34 m (30 ft 8 in)
- Wingspan: 13.01 m (42 ft 8 in)
- Height: 3.00 m (9 ft 10 in)
- Empty weight: 1,940 kg (4,277 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Alfa Romeo 126 RC.34, 582 kW (780 hp)
- Maximum speed: 347 km/h (216 mph)
- Range: 1,500 km (935 miles)
- Service ceiling: 6,500 m (21,320 ft)
- 2 × 7.7 mm (.303 in) Breda SAFAT machine guns
- 1 × 12.7 mm (.50 in) machine gun
- 500 kg (1,102 lb) of bombs
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Caproni A.P.1
- Where A.P. stood for Assalto Pallavicino, meaning "Pallavicino's Assault [Aircraft]"
- Taylor, Michael J.H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989.
- Sapienza Fracchia, Antonio Luis: "La Contribución Italiana en la Aviación Paraguaya". Author's edition. Asunción. 2007.
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