In late 1940, the Reich Air Ministry (RLM) offered a tender for a jet powered high speed reconnaissance aircraft with a range of 2,156 km (1,340 mi).
Arado was the only company to respond, offering their E.370 project, led by Professor Walter Blume.
This was a high wing conventional looking design with a Junkers Jumo 004 engine under each wing.
Arado E 370
Draft proposal submitted to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) for a fast jet reconnaissance bomber.
Ar 234 V1 to V5
Initial prototypes of the Ar 234A with skid landing gear, take-off tricycle gear trolley with trio of retractable landing skids and 2 x Jumo 004 engines.
Ar 234 V6 & V8
Prototypes for four engine designs for the Ar 234, meant to use the alternative choice of the lower thrust BMW 003 turbojet engines while retaining the A model skid/trolley undercarriage.
The V6 was fitted with the quartet of BMW 003s in individual nacelles, unlike the V8 prototype which had the BMW jet engines in a pair of “twinned” nacelles, and essentially “prototyped” what would become the four-engine Ar 234C’s engine installation.
Ar 234 V7
Development aircraft for the Ar 234B production aircraft, retaining the A-series intended skid undercarriage, and saw active service.
Ar 234 V9 to V11
Representative prototypes of the Ar 234B production aircraft, with the V9 being the first retractable tricycle geared airframe.
Ar 234 V13 & V20
A pair of B series prototypes fitted with quartets of the BMW 109-003 engines for the C-series aircraft, using the V8 prototype’s “twinned” nacelle design, without the V8 example’s retractable wing-skids.
Ar 234 V15
A single B series airframe fitted with 2 x BMW 003 engines for engine development testing, and rumoured to have been considered for new wing planform tests.
Ar 234 V21 to V30
C-series development aircraft.
V26 and V30 had experimental thick section wooden and thin section metal laminar flow wings.
Ar 234 V16
Intended to be fitted with an experimental crescent wing with sweep back lessening towards the tips, evolved by Rüdiger Kosin and Walther Lehmann.
The wing was constructed but was destroyed before it could be fitted.
Ar 234 A
The first proposed production reconnaissance bomber fitted with skid undercarriage and take-off tricycle gear trolley, built only as the series of eight trolley and skid undercarriage V1 through V8 prototypes.
Ar 234 B-0
20 pre-production aircraft.
Ar 234 B-1
Reconnaissance version, equipped with two Rb 50/30 or Rb 75/30 cameras.
No serial production, all reconnaissance variants were converted from B-2 aircraft with Rüstsatz b.
Ar 234 B-1 Berlin N
Two engine aircraft, this was a wind tunnel test aircraft based on Ar 234 B-1 with FuG 244 Berlin N radar installed on top.
The purpose of this plane was to be an early warning jet and also a fighter control jet.
Ar 234 B-2
Bomber version, with a maximum bombload of 1,500 kg (3,307 lb).
Ar 234 B-2/N
Night fighter version, two aircraft converted from B-2.
Ar 234 C-1
Four engined aircraft, all C-series Ar 234s powered with a quartet of BMW 003 jet engines, as installed on the Ar 234 V8 prototype, otherwise similar to the Ar 234 B-1.
Ar 234 C-2
Four engined aircraft similar to the Ar 234 B-2.
Ar 234 C-3
Multi purpose version, armed with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons beneath the nose.
Ar 234 C-3/N
Proposed two seat night fighter version, armed with two forward firing 20 mm MG 151/20 and two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannons, fitted with a mid-VHF band FuG 218 Neptun V radar.
Ar 234 C-4
Armed reconnaissance version, fitted with two cameras, armed with four 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon.
Ar 234 C-5
Proposed version with side by side seating for the crew.
The 31st prototype was converted into this variant.
Ar 234 C-5 Berlin N
Proposed C-5 with a FuG 244 Berlin-N rotating radar dish on top of the plane, for early warning and fighter control role
Ar 234 C-6
Proposed two seat reconnaissance aircraft.
The 32nd prototype was converted into this variant.
Ar 234 C-7
Night fighter version, with side by side seating for the crew, fitted with an enhanced FuG 245 Bremen O cavity magnetron based centimetric (30 GHz) radar.
Ar 234 C-8
Proposed single seat bomber version, powered by two 1,080 kg (2,380 lb) Jumo 004D turbojet engines.
Ar 234 P-1
Two seat with four BMW 003A-1 engines, one 20 mm MG 151/20 and one 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108.
Ar 234 P-2
Also a two-seat, with redesigned cockpit protected by a 13 mm (0.51 in) armour plate.
Ar 234 P-3
HeS 011A powered P-2, but with two cannon.
As P-3 but with Jumo 004D engines.
Three seat version with HeS 011A engines, one 20 mm MG 151/20 and four 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannon.