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Arado Ar 196

The Arado Ar 196, manufactured by the German company Arado, was a low-wing monoplane aircraft specifically designed for shipboard reconnaissance.

This aircraft served as the primary observation floatplane for the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) during World War II, making it the sole German seaplane to be utilised throughout the entire conflict.

The Ar 196 was developed as a response to the Kriegsmarine’s need for a replacement for the Heinkel He 60 biplane, which had proven to be unsatisfactory after the failure of its intended successor, the He 114.

Arado presented a monoplane design to the German Air Ministry (RLM), while all other competing proposals were for biplanes.

In late 1936, the RLM decided to order four prototypes of the Ar 196.

Extensive testing conducted in late 1937 demonstrated the aircraft’s impressive performance characteristics, leading to the authorisation of production and the commencement of formal service tests in early 1939.

From November 1939 onwards, production shifted to the heavier land-based Ar 196 A-2 model, which was subsequently followed by several more variants until production of the type ceased in August 1944.

The capital ships of the Kriegsmarine were all equipped with Ar 196s.

These aircraft were commonly used by various coastal squadrons, enabling them to conduct reconnaissance missions and submarine hunts until late 1944 in the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas.

A notable event involving the Ar 196s was their role in the detection and capture of HMS Seal.

Besides Germany, the Ar 196 was also exported to the Bulgarian Air Force.

Many examples were captured by the Allies, with some still in use as late as 1955.





11 m (36 ft 1 in)


12.4 m (40 ft 8 in)


4.45 m (14 ft 7 in)

Wing area

28.4 m2 (306 sq ft)

Empty weight

2,990 kg (6,592 lb)

Max take-off weight

3,720 kg (8,201 lb)


1 × BMW 132K, 9-cylinder air cooled radial piston engine,

706 kW (947 hp)


Maximum speed

311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn)


1,080 km (670 mi, 580 nmi)

Service ceiling

7,010 m (23,000 ft)

Rate of climb

5 m/s (980 ft/min)

Wing loading

98.2 kg/m2 (20.1 lb/sq ft)


0.167 kW/kg (0.101 hp/lb)



1 × 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 15 machine gun

1 × 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 17 machine gun

2 × 20 mm (0.787 in) MG FF cannon


2x 50 kg (110.231 lb) bombs.


Arado Geschichte Eines Flugzeugwerks-Jorg Armin Kranzhoff.

Air War Over the Atlantic, Luftwaffe at War-Manfred Griehl.

Aircraft of the Luftwaffe 1935-1945, An Illustrated Guide-Jean-Denis GG LaPage.

The Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft, 1935-1945-Kenneth A Merrick & Thomas H Hitchcock.

Seaplanes Over the Black sea, German-Romanian Operations, 1941-1944-J L Roba & C Craciunoiu.

Sea Eagles, Luftwaffe Anti Shipping Units, 1939-1941, Vol 1-Chris Goss.


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