The Arado Ar 232 was a cargo aircraft, designed and built in small numbers by the German firm Arado Flugzeugwerke during World War II.
The design introduced, or brought together, almost all of the features now considered to be standard in modern cargo transport aircraft designs, including a box-like fuselage slung beneath a high wing; a rear loading ramp a high-mounted twin tail for easy access to the hold; and various features for operating from rough fields.
Although the Luftwaffe was interested in replacing or supplementing its fleet of outdated Junkers Ju 52/3m transports, it had an abundance of types in production at the time, and did not purchase large numbers of the Ar 232.
The Ar 232 design resulted from a tender offered by the German Air Ministry, (RLM) in late 1939 for a replacement for the Ju 52/3m transport.
Both Arado and Henschel were asked for rear-loading designs powered by two 1,193 kW (1,600 hp) BMW 801A/B radial engines, which was just entering prototype production and not currently used on any front-line designs.
The Arado design beat out Henschel’s after an examination of the plans, and an order for three prototypes was placed in 1940.
Wilhelm van Nes led the design of the Ar 232.
He began at the cargo area, with a bay directly behind the “stepless cockpit” that was 6.6 m (21 ft 7¾ in) long, 2.3 m (7 ft 6½ in) wide and 2.0 m (6 ft 6¾ in) high.
Typical designs of the era used a side-mounted door for access, but the Ar 232 used hydraulically powered clamshell-doors on the rear of the bay with a ramp to allow cargo to be rolled into the hold.
The twin tail configuration tail surfaces were mounted on the end of a long boom to keep the area behind the doors clear so trucks could drive right up to the ramp.
The high-set tail on its “pod-and-boom” configuration fuselage allowed the Ar 232 to be loaded and unloaded faster than other designs.
For short-field performance, the Ar 232 incorporated Arado’s own “travelling flap” design for the entire rear surface of the wing.
Even loaded to 16,000 kg (35,270 lb), it could take-off in 200 m (656 ft).
This distance could be further reduced by using Starthilfe liquid fuelled monopropellant rocket assist (RATO) jettisonable propulsion units for take-off.
Normally operated by a crew of four, the pilot was the only member without two roles.
The navigator operated a 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun in the nose, the radio operator a 20 mm MG 151 cannon in a rotating turret on the roof, and the loadmaster a 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun firing rearward from the extreme rear of the cargo bay above the cargo doors.
Ar 232 V1 & V2
Ar 232A prototypes and research aircraft, powered by two 1,193 kW (1,600 hp) BMW 801A/B engines.
Ar 232 V3 & V4
Ar 232B prototypes and research aircraft, powered by four BMW Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir engines.
Pre-production aircraft used for operational trials, powered by two BMW801 engines, only ten built.
The first production aircraft powered by four Bramo 323 Fafnir engines, only ten built as Ar 232B-0.
A redesigned version using wood for outer wing sections and control surfaces.
Capacity: 4,500 kg (9,921 lb) payload
Length: 23.52 m (77 ft 2 in)
Wingspan: 33.5 m (109 ft 11 in)
Height: 5.69 m (18 ft 8 in)
Wing area: 142.6 m2 (1,535 sq ft)
Empty weight: 12,780 kg (28,175 lb)
Max take off weight: 21,150 kg (46,628 lb)
Power plant: 4 × BMW Bramo 323R-2 Fafnir 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 890 kW (1,200 hp) each
Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propellers
Maximum speed: 308 km/h (191 mph, 166 kn) at 4,000 m (13,123 ft)
Cruise speed: 290 km/h (180 mph, 160 kn) at 2,000 m (6,562 ft)
Range: 1,062 km (660 mi, 573 nmi)
Service ceiling: 6,900 m (22,600 ft)
Take-off run: 200 m (656 ft) minimum
1 × 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun mounted in the nose
1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 autocannon mounted in an Elektrische Drehlafette EDL 151 forward dorsal turret
1–2 × 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine gun mounted in the rear position
Up to 8 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 34 machine guns mounted in side windows when transporting infantry
Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation-Michael J. H Taylor.
The Complete Book of Fighters-William Green & Gordon Swanborough.