Arado AR-196

1st Flight 1937

Military Users-

Bulgarian Air Force, Finnish Air Force, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Royal Romanian Naval Aviation, Soviet Border Guard.

Ar 196

In 1933, the Kriegsmarine looked for a standardized shipboard observation seaplane.

After a brief selection period, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry, RLM) decided the Heinkel He 60 biplane was the one for them.

This was one of a line of developments of a basic biplane airframe that appeared as a number of floatplanes, trainers, and fighters. Deliveries started in a matter of months.

Ar 196

By 1935, it was found that the He 60’s performance was lacking and the RLM asked Heinkel to design its replacement.

The result was the He 114.

The first prototype was powered by the Daimler-Benz DB 600 inline engine, but it was clear that supplies of this engine would be limited and the production versions turned to the BMW 132 radial engine instead.

Ar 196

The plane proved to have only slightly better performance than the He 60, and its sea-handling was poor.

Rushed modifications resulted in a series of nine prototypes in an attempt to solve some of the problems, but they did not help much.

The Navy gave up, and the planes were eventually sold off to Romania, Spain and Sweden.

Ar 196

In October 1936, the RLM asked for a He 114 replacement.

The only stipulations were that it would use the BMW 132, and they wanted prototypes in both twin-float and single-float configurations.

Designs were received from Dornier, Gotha, Arado and Focke-Wulf.

Ar 196

Heinkel declined to tender, contending that the He 114 could still be made to work.

With the exception of the Arado low-wing monoplane design, all were conventional biplanes.

This gave the Arado better performance than any of the others, and the RLM ordered four prototypes.

Ar 196

The RLM was conservative by nature, so they also ordered two of the Focke-Wulf Fw 62 designs as a backup.

It quickly became clear that the Arado would work effectively, and only four prototypes of the Fw 62 were built.

The Ar 196 prototypes were all delivered in summer 1937, V1 (which flew in May) and V2 with twin floats as A models, and V3 and V4 on a single float as B models.

Ar 196

Both versions demonstrated excellent water handling and there seemed to be little to decide, one over the other.

Since there was a possibility of the smaller outrigger floats on the B models “digging in”, the twin-float A model was ordered into production.

A single additional prototype, V5, was produced in November 1938 to test final changes.

Ar 196

Ten A-0s were delivered in November and December 1938, with a single 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine gun at the rear for defense.

Five similarly equipped B-0s were also delivered to land-based squadrons.

This was followed by 20 A-1 production models starting in June 1939, enough to equip the surface fleet.

Ar 196

Starting in November, production switched to the heavier land-based A-2 model.

It added shackles for two 50 kg (110 lb) bombs, two 20 mm MG FF cannon in the wings, and a 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine gun in the cowling.

The A-4 replaced it in December 1940, strengthening the airframe, adding another radio, and switching propellers to a VDM model.

Ar 196

The apparently miss numbered A-3, which had additional strengthening of the airframe, replaced the A-4.

The final production version was the A-5 from 1943, which changed radios and cockpit instruments, and switched the rear gun to the much-improved MG 81Z.

Overall, 541 Ar 196s were built before production ended in August 1944, about 100 of these from SNCA and Fokker plants.

Ar 196

The Ar 196C was a proposed aerodynamically-refined version.

The Ar 196C project was cancelled in 1941.

Ar 196


Crew: two (pilot and observer)

Length: 11 m (36 ft 1 in)

Wingspan: 12.4 m (40 ft 8 in)

Height: 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)

Ar 196

Power plant: 1 × BMW 132K 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 706 kW (947 hp)


Maximum speed: 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn)

Range: 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)

Power/mass: 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

Bombs: 2x 50 kg (110.231 lb) bombs

Ar 196


Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation-Michael J. H Taylor.

The Complete Book of Fighters-William Green & Gordon Swanborough.

The wings of the Luftwaffe- William Green

Aircraft of the Third Reich- William Green.

German Maritime Aircraft WW2-Brian Philpott

Warplanes of the Luftwaffe-David Donald


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