Hispano-Suiza engines were developed by Marc Birkigt, of Swiss origin, and first manufactured in Barcelona for use in automobiles. Hisso engines were very successful and featured innovative cast-aluminum cylinder construction with internal water passages. The 1917 Model 8 Ca was a Model A operating normally at higher speed and employing a geared propeller drive. World War I, in particular, required licensing of Hisso aircraft engine manufacturing in France, England and the U.S. to meet increased demand. The American rights were acquired by the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, later the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, which claimed improvements during further development.
Some Hisso engines had guns mounted between cylinder banks that could fire through the hollow propeller shaft, and many German aircraft were shot down by Allied aircraft equipped with the "moteurs-canon.” The early cannon fired only one shot at a time, an extreme disadvantage in combat. Development continued through the Model K, an experimental engine designed to carry fully automatic cannon.