Arado Ar 68

 

1st Flight 1934

The Arado Ar 68 was a German single-seat biplane fighter developed in the mid-1930s.

It was among the first fighters produced when Germany abandoned the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles and began rearming.

Designed to replace the Heinkel He 51, the Ar 68 proved to have admirable handling characteristics on its first flight in early 1934, despite Arado’s inability to secure a sufficiently powerful engine for the prototype.

Eventually, a Junkers Jumo 210 was installed and the Ar 68 went into production, though not before worries about the unforgiving nature of such a high-performance aircraft almost resulted in the cancellation of the project.

The Ar 68 entered service with the Luftwaffe in 1936 and one of the first units was stationed in East Prussia.

Soon, the fighter was sent to fight in the Spanish Civil War, where it was outclassed by the Soviet Polikarpov I-16.

Arado responded by upgrading the engine of the Ar 68E, which soon became the Luftwaffe’s most widely used fighter in 1937–38, before being replaced by the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

The last Ar 68s served as night fighters up to the winter of 1939–40, after which they served as fighter-trainers until 1944.

Specifications

Crew: one

Length: 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in)

Upper wingspan: 11 m (36 ft 1 in)

Lower wingspan: 8 m (26 ft 3 in)

Height: 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)

Aspect ratio: 6.1

Empty weight: 1,600 kg (3,527 lb)

Gross weight: 2,020 kg (4,453 lb)

Fuel capacity: main tank:200 l (53 US gal; 44 imp gal); oil tank:27 l (7.1 US gal; 5.9 imp gal)

Powerplant: 1 × BMW VI V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, 541 kW (725 hp)

Propellers: 2-bladed wooden fixed pitch propeller, 3.1 m (10 ft 2 in) diameter

Performance

Maximum speed: 330 km/h (210 mph, 180 kn) at sea level

Landing Speed: 97 km/h (60 mph; 52 kn)

Range: 500 km (310 mi, 270 nmi)

Service ceiling: 7,400 m (24,300 ft)

Rate of climb: 12.6 m/s (2,480 ft/min)

Time to altitude: 6,000 m (19,685 ft) in 16 minutes

Wing loading: 74 kg/m2 (15 lb/sq ft)

Armament

Guns: 2 × 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 17 machine guns with 500 r.p.g. (rounds per gun)

Bombs: Up to 6x 10 kg (22 lb) SC 10 fragmentation bombs.

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