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  • Arado Ar 234 (Blitz) Jet-Powered Fast Bomber / Reconnaissance Aircraft


    The German Arado Ar 234 Blitz became the first purpose-built, jet-powered bomber in history - this during World War 2.

     Updated: 5/23/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    As the German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" ("Swallow") holds the distinction of becoming the world's first operational jet-powered fighter, the Arado Ar 234 "Blitz" ("Lightning") is recognized as the world's first operational jet-powered bomber. The system arrived in 1944 and became active into 1945, serving until the end of war in 1945. it proved one of the more technologically advanced and prized weapons of the German Luftwaffe but was never available in the numbers required. The aircraft proved so advanced, in fact, that it was able to evade all available Allied interceptors of the time, making it a very capable reconnaissance and high-speed bombing platform. Unfortunately for the Germans, related testing and manufacture facilities were disrupted consistently, fuel supplies restricted and factories ultimately overrun by advancing Allied fronts limiting production to a few hundred examples by war's end. The West seemingly benefitted the most from the captured technology, the Americans in particular designing, developing and producing several jet-powered bombers of the Cold War that superficially resembled the wartime Ar 234 series to an extent (though frequently on a much larger scale). The Ar 234 became the German Luftwaffe's second jet-powered aircraft to enter service following the more recognizable Me 262.

    The German Need

    Origins of the Ar 234 can be traced back in an original late-1930s German Air Ministry (the RLM = Reichluftfahrtminiserium) initiative requiring a new, high-speed naval reconnaissance platform. To this point, the Germans relied upon a collection of seaplanes and flying boats for the role though performance garnered from these machines were less than stellar (apart from their inherently excellent operational ranges). These aircraft were highly susceptible to enemy interception for they lacked the needed performance and handling to evade incoming threats - particularly those embodied by nimble, maneuverable fighter types being fielded by the Allies.


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    Arado Ar 234B-2 (Blitz) Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1944
    Type: Jet-Powered Fast Bomber / Reconnaissance Aircraft
    National Origin: Nazi Germany
    Manufacturer(s): Arado Flugzeugwerke - Nazi Germany
    Production Total: 232



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 41.47 feet (12.64 meters)
    Width: 47.38 feet (14.44 meters)
    Height: 14.01 feet (4.27 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 11,464 lb (5,200 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 21,605 lb (9,800 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 2 x Junkers 004B turbojet engines developing 1,980 lb of standard thrust each.

    Maximum Speed: 461 mph (742 kph; 401 knots)
    Maximum Range: 967 miles (1,556 km)
    Service Ceiling: 32,808 feet (10,000 meters; 6.21 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    OPTIONAL (Model Dependent):
    2 x 20mm MG 151 fixed, forward-firing cannons
    2 x 20mm MG 151 fixed, rear-firing cannons (periscope aimed).

    Up to 3.300lbs of external ordnance.

    30mm MK 108 cannons also considered as were guided missiles.

    Global Operators / Customers


    France (two captured specimens); Nazi Germany

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    E.370 - Proposal Aircraft Designation to RLM specification

    Ar 234 V1 - Prototype with trolley undercarriage and landing skid; fitted with 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 series turbojets; basis for Ar 234A models.

    Ar 234 V2 - Prototype with trolley undercarriage and landing skid; fitted with 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 series turbojets.

    Ar 234 V3 - Prototype with trolley undercarriage and landing skid; fitted with 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 series turbojets.

    Ar 234 V4 - Prototype with trolley undercarriage and landing skid; fitted with 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 series turbojets.

    Ar 234 V5 - Prototype with trolley undercarriage and landing skid; fitted with 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 series turbojets.

    Ar 234 V6 - Four-engined prototype; trolley undercarriage with skid landing gear; fitted with 4 x BMW 003 turbojet engines in separate nacelles.

    Ar 234 V7 - Prototype with trolley undercarriage and landing skid; fitted with 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 series turbojet engines; basis for Ar 234B production model.

    Ar 234 V8 - Four-engined prototype; trolley undercarriage with skid landing gear; fitted with 4 x BMW 003 turbojet engines in combined twin-engine pod nacelles.

    Ar 234 V9 - 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 engines; retractable tricycle undercarriage

    Ar 234 V10 - 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 engines; retractable tricycle undercarriage

    Ar 234 V11 - 2 x Junkers Jumo 004 engines; retractable tricycle undercarriage

    Ar 234 V13 - Prototype fitting 4 x BMW 109-003 engines

    Ar 234 V15 - Prototype fitting 2 x BMW 003 engines

    Ar 234 V16 - Prototype with crescent-shaped wings

    Ar 234 V20 - Prototype fitting 4 x BMW 109-003 engines

    Ar 234 V21 - Prototype for C-model aircraft

    Ar 234 V22 - Prototype for C-model aircraft

    Ar 234 V23 - Prototype for C-model aircraft

    Ar 234 V24 - Prototype for C-model aircraft

    Ar 234 V25 - Prototype for C-model aircraft

    Ar 234 V26 - Prototype for C-model aircraft; fitted with developmental laminar flow wings.

    Ar 234 V27 - Prototype for C-model aircraft

    Ar 234 V28 - Prototype for C-model aircraft; basis for Ar 234 C-5

    Ar 234 V29 - Prototype for C-model aircraft; basis for Ar 234 C-6

    Ar 234 V30 - Prototype for C-model aircraft; fitted with developmental laminar flow wings.

    Ar 234A - Production Reconnaissance Bomber with trolley undercarriage and landing skid; group consisted of V1 through V8 prototypes.

    Ar 234 B-0 - Pre-production models; 20 examples completed

    Ar 234 B-1 - Reconnaissance model; fitting two camera installations

    Ar 234 B-2 - Dedicated bomber platform with 3,300lb load out

    Ar 234 C-1 - Fitting 4 x BMW 003 turbojet engines; based on V8 prototype.

    Ar 234 C-2 - Fitting 4 x BMW 003 turbojet engines based on Ar 234 B-2

    Ar 234 C-3 - Multirole version fitting 4 x BMW 003 turbojet engines; 2 x 20mm MG 151/20 series cannons in fixed positions under nose.

    Ar 234 C-4 - Armed Reconnaissance Platform; 2 x camera installations; 4 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons.

    Ar 234 C-5 - Proposed reconnaissance platform with side-by-side cockpit seating.

    Ar 234 C-6 - Proposed two-seat reconnaissance platform

    Ar 234 C-7 - Two-seat night fighter variant; lengthened nose with radar installed.

    Ar 234 C-8 - Proposed single-seat bomber; to be fitted with 2 x Junkers Jumo 004D turbojet engines of 2,380lbs thrust each.

    Ar 234 D-1 - Proposed reconnaissance variant

    Ar 234 D-2 - Proposed bomber variant

    Ar 234 P-1 - Proposed two-seat night fighter; 4 x BMW 003A-1 turbojet engines; 1 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannon and 1 x 30mm MK 108 cannon.

    Ar 234 P-2 - Proposed two-seat night fighter; revised cockpit with armor plating

    Ar 234 P-3 - Proposed night fighter based on Ar 234 P-2 development; 2 x cannon; HeS 011A engines.

    Ar 234 P-4 - Proposed night fighter; fitted with Junkers Jumo 004D engines

    Ar 234 P-5 - Proposed three-seat night fighter; fitted with HeS 011A engines; 1 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannon and 4 x 30mm MK 108 cannons.