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THE POSSIBILITIES OF ITALY'S AERIAL FLEET

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In most respects 1 I 1 Italy ranks after I a I France, Germany, II and Great Britain as II an aerial power, for I 11 though she has fewer g 1 aeroplanes than Rus- p I 1 sia. she is better J II equipped in diri- II gibles, and she comes into this war with i| the experience Ip obtained during the P| Tripoli campaign. It pi would not be advis- I pi able to give the 11 figures of Italy’s p I 1 aeroplane strength, P| even if they were P| known but since p| last August Italy has PI been rapidly supple- pi menting her fleet, pp and many additions 1 1 have recently come I P| from France. The Italian aero- plane is not spe- .fr cially distinguishable. p p| It belongs to the p p| French school. It is p pi in the engine work pA that Italy’s strength lies. Italian engi- g neers are without a superior, and their p petrol motors are if p anything better than p the German in relia- p bility. A compact p and very effective p aeroplane force is p now at Italy’s dis- p posal, and she has a p new fleet of seaplanes p which are amongst p p the best of their p P kind. Italian airships p p are in quite a class p p of their own. They p p are of the semi-rigid p type, and the enve- p lopes are of the p stream-line shape. p p In the older models p the car was sus- p p pended well below the p p gas bag. but newer p models are Improved p p by having the car em- p bodied in the under p p framework. Wind p resistance is thus pp p reduced, and there is 11 p greater efficiency in pp propulsion.Here the car is built into the keel, making the ship very compact and speedy. Forward is the observation and control cabin, affording a splendid outlook. The engines are in the rear compartment. Powerful elevating planes for rapid manoeuvring are fitted. This vessel is perhaps the best model extant of the semi-rigid high-speed airship. It reveals the Italian g us in airship design. The engines are the strong feature of the Italian airships, and they are well designed to afford high speed and reliable running. We may expect tohear a good deal about the Italian air fleet in the war against Austria as the conditions lend themselves to aerial operations. It is possible that Italy will be able to muster nearly a dozen effective airships against Austria, and these will be capable of raids across the narrow Adriatic and in other directions. The crews are experienced from their work in Tripoli, and we may anticipate some daring and successful exploits from them during the course of the operations against the Dual Monarchy.


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