Ansaldo SVA

The Ansaldo SVA (named for Savoia-Verduzio-Ansaldo) was a family of Italian reconnaissance biplane aircraft of World War I and the decade after. Originally conceived as a fighter, the SVA was found inadequate for that role. Nevertheless, its impressive speed, range and operational ceiling, with its top speed making it one of the fastest (if not the fastest) of all Allied combat aircraft in World War I, gave it the right properties to be an excellent reconnaissance aircraft and even light bomber. Production of the aircraft continued well after the war, with the final examples delivered in 1918. Two minor variants were produced, one with reconnaissance cameras, the other without cameras but extra fuel tanks.

Ansaldo SVA
Class Aircraft
Type Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Gio. Ansaldo & C.
Production Period 1917 - 1917
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1917
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Argentina 1917 View
Bolivia 1917 View
Brazil 1917 View
Ecuador 1917 View
Georgia 1917 View
Italy 1917 View
Latvia 1917 View
Paraguay 1917 View
Poland 1917 View
Russia (USSR) 1917 View
United States of America 1917 View
Uruguay 1917 View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) 1917 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Gio. Ansaldo & C. 1917 1917 1245 View

The SVA was a conventionally laid-out unequal-span biplane, featuring Warren Truss-style struts, and therefore having no transverse (spanwise) bracing wires. The plywood-skinned fuselage had the typical Ansaldo triangular rear cross-section behind the cockpit, transitioning to a rectangular cross section going forwards through the rear cockpit area, with a full rectangular cross section forward of the cockpit.

The famous Flight over Vienna propaganda flight, inspired by Gabriele d'Annunzio, was carried out on August 9, 1918, by the 87th Squadriglia La Serenissima from San Pelagio, consisting of an eleven plane flight of various models of Ansaldo SVA-series biplanes. At least two of the aircraft were two seater SVA 9 or 10s to accommodate d'Annunzio himself for the flight he inspired, with the remainder being SVA 5 single-seaters.


  • SVA.1 - single prototype
  • SVA.2 - 65 production aircraft
  • ISVA - (Idroplane - "seaplane") float-equipped version. 50 built for Italian navy
  • SVA.3 - AER-built SVA.4
  • SVA.3 Ridotto ("Reduced") - fast-climbing interceptor variant for anti-Zeppelin defence. Some fitted with additional oblique-firing machine gun
  • SVA.4 - first major production version. Portside Vickers gun deleted to save weight for cameras.
  • SVA.5 - definitive production version
  • SVA.6 - prototype bomber version
  • SVA.8 - single prototype; nature unclear
  • SVA.9 - two-seat unarmed reconnaissance version with larger wings. Intended as pathfinder for SVA.5 formations, and as trainer
  • SVA.10 - two-seat armed reconnaissance version with 250 hp Isotta-Fraschini engine and fitted with single forward firing gun and a Lewis gun on a flexible mounting in the rear cockpit

Role Reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Gio. Ansaldo & C.
Designer Umberto Savoia and Rodolfo Verduzio
First flight 1917
Number built 1245

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 8.10 m (26 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.10 m (29 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 2.65 m (8 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 24.2 m2 (260 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 680 kg (1,500 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,050 kg (2,320 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × SPA 6A, 150 kW (200 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 230 km/h (140 mph)
  • Range: 690 km (420 miles)
  • Endurance: 3 hours
  • Service ceiling: 6,000 m (19,700 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 5 m/s (980 ft/min)


  • 2 × synchronised .303 Vickers machine gun
  • up to 90 kg (200 lb) of bombs

End notes