By late in World War I, developments in aircraft technology made older bomber designs unable to penetrate targets defended by modern fighters. Caproni's response to this problem was to significantly uprate the power on the existing Ca.3 design, with some versions of the Ca.5 eventually carrying engines with nearly five times the total power that the first Ca.1 had.
Apart from greater power, various refinements were made to the design, including modifications to the main nacelle and undercarriage, and completely new wings. The first prototype flew in late 1917 and the type remained in production until 1921. Some 659 of all versions were built by Caproni, and another three were licence-built in the US (two Ca.44s by Standard, and one Ca.46 by Fisher). Plans for licence production in France did not eventuate.
During the war, Caproni designated these aircraft according to the total power of their engines. Afterwards, the company redesignated these designs.
The Ca.5 was a three-engine biplane of a wooden construction, covered with fabric. The crew of four was placed in an open central nacelle (front gunner, two pilots and rear gunner-mechanic). The rear gunner manned upper machine guns, standing upon the central engine in a protective "cage", just before a propeller.
Armament consisted of two to four Revelli 6.5 mm or 7.7 mm machine guns, one in front ring mounting and one, two or sometimes even three in an upper ring mounting. Bombs were suspended under the hull.
Published - July 2009
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