Arado Ar 234

1st Flight 1943

Military Users-

French Air Force, Luftwaffe.

Ar 234

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.

Ar 234

Arado estimated a maximum speed of 780 km/h (480 mph) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft), an operating altitude of 11,000 m (36,000 ft) and a range of 1,995 km (1,240 mi).

The range was short of the RLM request, but they liked the design and ordered two prototypes as the Ar 234.

These were largely complete before the end of 1941, but the Jumo 004 engines were not ready, and would not be ready until February 1943.

Ar 234

When they did arrive they were considered unreliable by Junkers for in-flight use and were cleared for static and taxi tests only.

Flight-qualified engines were finally delivered, and the Ar 234 V1 made its first flight on 30 July 1943 at Rheine Airfield.

By September, four prototypes were flying.

Ar 234

The second prototype, Arado Ar 234 V2, crashed on 2 October 1943 at Rheine near Münster after suffering a fire in its port wing, failure of both engines and various instrumentation failures.

The aircraft dived into the ground from 1,200 m (3,900 ft), killing pilot Flugkapitän Selle. 

The eight prototype aircraft were fitted with the original arrangement of trolley-and-skid landing gear, intended for the planned operational, but never-produced Ar 234A version.

Ar 234

The sixth and eighth of the series were powered with four BMW 003 jet engines instead of two Jumo 004s, the sixth having four engines housed in individual nacelles, and the eighth flown with two pairs of BMW 003s installed within “twinned” nacelles underneath each wing.

These were the first four-engine jet aircraft to fly.

The twin-Jumo 004 powered Ar 234 V7 prototype made history on 2 August 1944 as the first jet aircraft ever to fly a reconnaissance mission, flown by Erich Sommer.

Ar 234


Crew: 1

Length: 12.64 m (41 ft 6 in)

Wingspan: 14.41 m (47 ft 3 in)

Height: 4.29 m (14 ft 1 in)

Wing area: 26.4 m2 (284 sq ft)

Empty weight: 5,200 kg (11,464 lb)

Max take off weight: 9,800 kg (21,605 lb)

Powerplant: 2 × Junkers Jumo 004B-1 axial flow turbojet engines, 8.83 kN (1,990 lbf) thrust each

Ar 234

Power plant: 2 × Walter HWK 109-500A-1 Starthilfe liquid fuelled jettisonable JATO rocket pods, 4.905 kN (1,103 lbf) thrust each (optional)


Maximum speed: 742 km/h (461 mph, 401 kn) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft)

Cruise speed: 700 km/h (430 mph, 380 kn) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft)

Range: 1,556 km (967 mi, 840 nmi) with 500 kg (1,100 lb) bomb load

Service ceiling: 10,000 m (33,000 ft)

Rate of climb: 13 m/s (2,600 ft/min)


Guns: 2 × 20 mm MG 151 cannon in tail firing to the rear (installed in prototypes only; never used in military service)

Bombs: up to 1,500 kg (3,309 lb) of disposable stores on external racks

Ar 234


Warplanes of the Luftwaffe 1939-45-David Donald

The Luftwaffe in Camera 1939-1945-Alfred Price


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