The Arado Ar 68
was a single seat biplane aircraft
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 Heinkel'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 cancelled 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 stumpy Russian Polikarpov I-16. Arado responded by upgrading the engine of the Ar-68E, which soon became the Luftwaffe's most widely-used fighter in 1937-8 before being replaced by the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The last Ar 68s served as night fighters in the winter of 1939-40 and fighter-trainers.
- Ar 68V1 : Prototype, powered by a 660 hp (492 kW) BMW VI piston engine. First flight in 1933.
- Ar 68a : First prototype.
- Ar 68b : Second prototype.
- Ar 68c : Third prototype.
- Ar 68d : Fourth prototype.
- Ar 68e : Fifth prototype.
- Ar 68E : First type to enter Luftwaffe service, powered by a 610 hp (455 kW) Junkers Jumo 210 piston engine.
- Ar 68F : Powered by a 670 hp (500 kW) BMW VI piston engine.
- Ar 68G : Most produced variant, BMW VI piston engine (670 hp+)
- Ar 68H : Only a single prototype was built. It was powered by an 850 hp (634 kW) supercharged BMW 132Da nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. It was also the first Arado fighter to have an enclosed cockpit.
Specifications (Ar 68E)