Aviation of World War II

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Naval Reconnaissance Aircraft

Caproni 316

Caproni Ca 316 - seaplane, naval reconnaissance aircraft. It was intended for use in the Navy for reconnaissance operations during takeoff from a catapult, but design errors made it impossible to use it on ships.

Structurally, the Ca.316 was a low-wing float with two Piaggio P.VII C.16 radial engines rated at 460 kW (616 hp each). The seaplane could carry up to 400 kilograms of light bombs and was armed with a 7.7 mm machine gun on a movable turret on top of the fuselage and one 12.7 mm machine gun in the wing.

The first flight of Ca.316 on August 14, 1940 under the control of Mario di Bernardi. On September 8, the seaplane flew to the Research Center in Guidonia, where it was tested by military pilots for suitability as a combat vehicle. Although the Ca.316 did not show outstanding performance, Regia Marina agreed to build a small batch of seaplanes. In total, 7 seaplanes were released, which entered the Navy aviation for review in 1941. The prototype was transferred to 148 Sqd., Where it was used for training purposes.

Serial Ca.316 were treated differently. When it turned out that it was not possible to use the Ca.316 on ships without global changes in the design of the seaplane, they had to be abandoned. Another negative reason was the disaster of the third serial seaplane on May 15, 1941.

6 seaplanes were ordered for the Yugoslav Navy, but due to the very slow pace of production, the seaplanes did not manage to be handed over to the customer before the occupation of Yugoslavia by the Germans. As a result, the produced cars were also transferred to Regia Aeronautica. The latter was handed over to the military at the end of December 1942. The seaplanes transferred to Regia Marina in early 1941 underwent combat trials on the battleships of the fleet until an accident occurred on May 15, 1941. After that, in 1942, all the seaplanes were transferred to the 3rd squadron of the Osservazione Marittima flight school, where they remained until 1943.

A total of 14 seaplanes were built.

Crew 3
Wing span, m 15.87
Wing area, m² 38.0
Length, m 12.89
Height, m 5.11
Weight, kg
Empty 4,000
Loaded weight 4,804
Engine 2 х PE Piaggio P.VII
Takeoff power, h.p. 2 х 616
Maximum speed, km/h 328
Cruising speed, km/h 300
Service range, km 2,110
Service ceiling, m 6,000
7.7 mm machine gun in the turret and one 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun in the wing
Bombs, kg 400
Photo Description
Drawing Caproni Ca.316

Drawing Caproni Ca.316, 2 engines P. VII C.16

Caproni Ca.316, side view

Caproni Ca.316, side view

Caproni Ca.316, seaplane layout

Caproni Ca.316, placement of radio equipment

Caproni Ca.316, stub antennas

Caproni Ca.316, cockpit

Caproni Ca.316, commander's dashboard

Caproni Ca.316, powerplant


  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /
  • Idrovolante TIPO CA. 316 due motori P. VII C.16 /Ministero dell' Aeronautica ANNO 1942/