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Arado Ar 196

The Arado Ar 196 was a low-wing monoplane aircraft designed and manufactured by the German aircraft manufacturer Arado for shipboard reconnaissance purposes.

It served as the standard observation floatplane of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) throughout the Second World War and was the sole German seaplane to serve throughout the conflict.

The development of the Ar 196 was initiated by the Kriegsmarine’s requirement to replace the Heinkel He 60 biplane, which was followed by the unsuccessful He 114.

Arado submitted a monoplane design to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry, RLM), while all competing bids were for biplanes.

The RLM subsequently ordered four prototypes of the Ar 196 in late 1936.

Following successful testing of these prototypes in late 1937, production was authorized, and formal service tests commenced in the opening weeks of 1939.

Production of the type continued until August 1944, with several models being introduced, including the heavier land-based Ar 196 A-2 model.

All capital ships of the Kriegsmarine were equipped with Ar 196s, and the aircraft was commonly used by numerous coastal squadrons.

As such, it continued to perform reconnaissance missions and submarine hunts into late 1944 across the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas.

Notably, two Ar 196s were involved in the detection and capture of HMS Seal.

The Ar 196 was also exported to the Bulgarian Air Force, and numerous examples were captured by the Allies, some of which were operated 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.


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