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Arado Ar 232

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By the autumn of 1938, it was clear that the Luftwaffe needed a new medium transport aircraft to replace its ageing Ju 52/3ms. Both Arado and Henschel received specifications for an aircraft capable of raising and lowering itself to truck-bed height for loading. Henshel's twin-boom machine proved unsuccessful, allowing Arado to go ahead with production of one of the most distinctive transport aircraft of World War II.

No more than 30 Ar 232s seem to have been completed and the type saw only limited service. Both the Ar 232 V1 and V2 prototypes were fitted with two BMW 801 radial engines as demanded by the original specification. It was immediately apparent, however, that Fw 190 production would place huge more urgent demands on the limited supply of this powerplant. Hence, Arado was instructed to complete the V3 and subsequent aircraft with four lower-powered BMW-Bramo 323R engines.

A unique feature of the Ar 323 was its multi-wheel undercarriage arrangement. Normal operations were carried out with the tricycle main gears but for loading and taxiing over rough ground, these units were partially retracted, allowing the aircraft to be loaded directly from a truck-bed and manoeuvred on its 11 pairs of under-fuselage wheels.

Eight pre-series Ar 232B-0 aircraft were completed, the first of them also being known as the Ar 232 V4. Four B-0s joined the surviving Ar 232As in special missions over the Soviet Union, flying from bases in Finland and Norway during 1944. One aircraft crashed near Moscow while on a covert mission.

Ironically, the Allies made extensive use of the one surviving Ar 232 in transporting personnel and captured aircraft to the UK, immediately after the cessation of hostilities.

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Arado Ar 232


Arado Ar 232 the military 'Milipede' Rough landing for the Arado Ar 232 Last plane out of the Arado Ar 232
One of eight Ar 232B-0 pre-series transports which equipped the 'Arado Staffel' transport wing. The 11 pairs of wheels were designed to cope with ditches up to 1.5 m (5 ft) wide. The twin-engined Ar 232 V2 is seen in flight. This aircraft served until late 1944, before being lost in action.


Arado Ar 232 (Technical Specification)
Role Heavy transport aircraft
Manufacturer Arado
Maximum Speed 340 kmh (211 mph)
Maximum Range 1,060 km (660 miles)
Ceiling 8,000 meters (26,250 feet)
Weight
Empty
Maximum Takeoff

12,802 kg (28,164 lbs)
21,135 kg (46,595 lbs)
Dimensions
Wingspan
Length
Height
Wing Area

33.50 meters (109 ft 11 in)
23.52 meters (77 ft 2 in)
5.69 meters (18 ft 8 in)
142.60 square meters (1,535 sq ft)
Engines Four BMW 323R-2 radial piston engines which provides 895-kW (1,200-hp)
Armament One 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 131 machine-gun in the nose
One or two similar weapons at the rear of the fuselage
One 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon in a power-operated dorsal turret



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