Aviation of World War II
After the success of the Ca.100, Caproni decided to create a more advanced trainer aircraft. The project, designated Ca.164, envisaged the development of two aircraft at once - a two-seat trainer, powered by a six-cylinder Alfa Romeo 115 I bis engine with a power of 185 hp. and a single-seat acrobatic, designated Ca.163, with an Alfa Romeo 110 engine producing 120 hp. (or Walter Minor with 110 hp).
The only prototype of the aircraft was built at the Caproni - Taliedo plant in 1938. The narrow specialization of the aircraft did not arouse interest among the military; moreover, they received a much more universal machine - the Ca.164.
Ca.163 survived the Second World War and was later transferred to the Giovanni Caproni Museum in Trento.
The Ca.164 is a trainer aircraft developed by the Italian company Caproni. After the success of the Ca.100, Caproni decided to create a more advanced trainer aircraft. The project, designated Ca.164, envisaged the development of two aircraft at once - a two-seat trainer (powered by a six-cylinder Alfa Romeo 115 I bis engine with a power of 185 hp) and a single-seat acrobatic (designated Ca.163, powered by an Alfa Romeo 110 engine power 120 hp). The first flight of the aircraft prototype took place on November 17, 1938 at Forlì airfield.
Together with the Ba.25, the aircraft passed competitive tests at the military center and, despite some comments, the first batch of 50 aircraft was ordered in January 1939. It was also planned to begin production of the Ca.164 as a light ambulance aircraft. In addition to the Italian Air Force, the Ca.164 was delivered to France. During World War II, the aircraft was equipped with one 7.7 mm machine gun and was used as a light support and counter-guerrilla aircraft on the western and eastern fronts, as well as in North Africa. In addition, some of the aircraft were requisitioned by the Luftwaffe. A total of 281 aircraft were built, of which approximately half survived until the end of the war.
The Caproni Ca.165 is a single-seat, single-engine fighter of mixed design with fixed landing gear.
The fuselage had a metal structure covered with light alloy panels and included a cockpit that was completely covered by a canopy.
The tail unit is single-fin metal, the deflectable surfaces are covered with canvas.
The aircraft's wings are wooden, assembled in a biplane box, the lower wing consoles are attached to the lower part of the fuselage. The two wings are connected to each other by vertical I-shaped struts and a system of metal ties. The upper wing is connected to the fuselage using a central tubular frame. The offset of the upper wing, located at a short distance from the fuselage, relative to the lower wing is minimal. The deflectable surfaces are covered with fabric.
Chassis with two main struts with shock absorbers and a rear wheel enclosed in fairings.
The power plant is represented by a 12-cylinder water-cooled Isotta Fraschini Asso XI RC.40 engine with a power of 900 hp. The engine is equipped with a three-blade metal propeller.
The armament consisted of two 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns located at the bottom of the engine.
Despite the fact that the Sa.165 was considered the winner in training battles, it lost in the final evaluation of options. Apparently, test pilots of the Ca.165 managed to outperform the Falco, but they found the aircraft itself unpleasant.
Regia Aeronautica chose the CR.42. The essence of the choice was that he used an engine that was installed on a number of mass-produced Italian cars (SIAI-Marchetti SM.79, Macchi MC.200, Fiat G.50). Last but not least, the choice was influenced by the fact that the cost of producing Ca.165 was twice as high as the cost of producing Falco. All this guaranteed the Fiat fighter and supply contracts.
In retrospect, high speed was a more modern concept for the new generation of fighters (especially for intercepting high-speed bombers such as the Bristol Blenheim, which often proved too fast for the Falco), but the Air Force was confident that the CR's performance CR.42 gave him superiority over the enemy.
However, it was not without the behind-the-scenes struggle that is so common in the Italian aviation industry. The Ca.165 was declared the “winner” of the mock battles and General Vallee placed an order for 12 vehicles on September 2, 1939. This order was canceled on October 11, 1939, but through intrigue Caproni received an order for another 12 Caproni-Vizzola F.5 fighters. There were also attempts at negotiations to organize licensed production in Belgium, Bulgaria and Hungary, which ended in vain.
Thus, the Ca.165 was produced in only one prototype and so disappeared from history, while its opponent , which, despite its obsolescence, became the most popular Italian fighter: more than 1800 aircraft were built before 1944.