Engineers Umberto Savoja and Rofolfo Verduzio designed a new plane, the SV after their initials, intended as a single-seat fighter. Combining with the firm Ansaldo for manufacturing (and adding an "A" to the name), they called on top aces to give their opinion. It was fast and sturdy, but during testing pilots rejected it for poor sight lines, lack of access to the guns, and lack of maneuverability. Further adjustments would eventually lead to the Ansaldo A.1 Balilla, but in the meantime the S.V.A. was found to be an excellent fast reconnaissance machine. From a modest start in autumn of 1917 production rates gradually increased, and by the Armistice the S.V.A. equipped six sezioni and four army squadriglie.  Perhaps 1,245 SVA aircraft were constructed in total.
The Prototype SVA first few in March 1917, and while it lacked the maneuverability of a contemporary fighter, its speed made for an excellent fast reconnaissance machine. After extensive testing, the type went into production in the autumn of 1917, and by then end of the year 65 had been built. It began service in February 1918.
There were several variants on the SVA theme, the most famous of which are the single-seat SVA5 (and its variants), the SVA9 two-seat trainer, and the SVA10 two-seat reconnaissance machine. The data is sketchy but Alegi makes a stab at it in Ansaldo S.V.A.5:
|SVA1||Original prototype, renamed|
|SVA2||Maybe the 1917 pre-production batch?|
|SVA3||Single-seat defense version with smaller wingspan and wing-mounted Fiat MG. SVA ridotto|
|SVA4||Single-seat recon version. Two side-mounted Vickers, two cameras|
|SVA5||Single-seat recon & bombing. Two side-mounted Vickers, two cameras, six 162mm bombs|
|SVA6||Single-seat recon. Wing mounted Fiat MG. Two cameras.|
|SVA7||Single-seat recon & bombing. Wing-mounted Fiat MG. Six 162mm bombs|
|SVA8||Single-seat armored ground attack. Post-war?|
|ISVA or SVA Am||Floatplane version.|
For more information, see Wikipedia:Ansaldo SVA.
- Alegi, p.1.
- Lamberton, p.162.
- Cattaneo'66, pp.3-5.
- Alegi, p.36.
- Gianni Cattaneo, Profile Publications 61: The S.V.A. (Ansaldo) Scouts. Great Britain: Profile Publications, Ltd., 1966.
- Gregory Alegi, Windsock Datafile 40: Ansaldo SVA 5. Great Britain, Albatros Publications Ltd., 1993. ISBN 0-948414-50-2
- W.M. Lamberton and E.F. Cheesman, Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Great Britain: Harleyford Publications Ltd., 1962. ISBN 9780900435027
- Kenneth Munson, Bombers: Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft, 1914-1919. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1968, Blandford Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0753721711