Aviation of World War II

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  • Dive bomber
  • First flight: 1935
  • Arado

At the beginning of 1935, Arado Flygzeugwerke, together with two other companies, began a competitive struggle for the creation of a dive bomber.

The given task was embodied in three rather different aircraft. Ar.81 was a single-column biplane of all-metal construction with N-type struts and fixed landing gear. The pilot was covered by a sliding canopy. The shooter was also partially covered by the fixed part of the lantern. The armament was to consist of one fixed MG-17 machine gun forward on the top of the fuselage and an MG-15 on a movable mount at the rear of the cockpit. A suspension under the fuselage of a 250 kg aerial bomb was provided for on a special rocking chair that lifts the bomb beyond the plane swept by the propeller.

Jumo-210Cs motor with three-bladed fixed pitch propeller. The first experimental aircraft Ar.81-V1 (D-UJOX) began testing at the end of 1935. The aircraft was extremely strong, but relatively light in construction and featured a thin, almost girder-shaped, tail fuselage with spaced tail, which was a definite departure from the established Arado tradition. The washers were oval in shape. The first tests revealed a certain instability in flight, and on the second experimental Ar.81-V2 (D-OPAR), completed after a short period of time, a new stabilizer was installed on a pylon without a transverse V with struts.

Tests in Rechlin showed that the Ar.81 instability could not be eliminated completely. As a result, the designer "Arado" redesigned the tail unit on the Ar.81-VЗ (D-UDEX). The height of the rear fuselage was increased, spaced plumage was replaced by a conventional fin. The Jumo-210Ca engine on Ar.81-VZ rotated a two-bladed variable pitch propeller. The aircraft entered testing in the late spring of 1936. Ar.81-VZ proved to be more than satisfactory. The aircraft reached a maximum dive speed of 600 km/h. It had a lower wing load than its main rival, the Ju.87 (load - 86.7kg/sq.m and 5.1kg/hp) and most of its characteristics were better. However, the biplane layout of the Ar.81 was seen as an anachronism, and was the main argument against the Arado aircraft. By the time the Ar.81-V3 was ready for official trials, the decision had already been made to launch the Junkers dive bomber into production.

Ar.81 V-3 Specification
Crew 2
Wing span, m 11.00
Wings area, м² 34.47
Height, m 3.60
Length, m 11.50
1 × PE Junkers Jumo-210Сa, power, hp over ground 600
at altitude 640
Weights, kg:
Empty airplane 1,927
Loaded weight 3,072
Maximum speed, km/h over ground 298
at altitude 342
Service ceiling, m 7,700
Service range, km 690

Armament. One fixed 7.9 mm MG-17 machine gun and one 7.9 mm MG-15 machine gun on a mobile mount; 250 kg bomb on external sling.

Photo Description
Drawing Arado 81

Drawing Arado Ar.81


  • LuftArchiv.de. Arado Ar 81
  • Luftwaffe Aviation /V.N. Shunkov/
  • Combat aircraft of the Luftwaffe / ed. David Donald/