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  • Fokker D.XXI Fighter Aircraft

    The Fokker D.XXI was a serviceable aircraft and saw its best days in the hands of Finnish pilots against the Soviets.

     Updated: 4/27/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Designed by Anthony Fokker in 1935, the Fokker D.XXI first flew on March 27th, 1936. The system was originally intended to fill the ranks of the Netherlands East Indies Army Air Service but the arrival of World War 2 eventually pressed it into service with Finland, Denmark and Netherlands air force units against Germany. Operationally, the D.XXI proved a reliable airframe with solid performance specifications, good maneuverability and was relatively inexpensive to produce. At the time of its inception, it proved quite a revolutionary step forwards for the Dutch, with many of its current aircraft still resembling the biplanes of a forgotten era of military aviation. Some 200 of the type were eventually produced in Netherlands with license-production occurring in both Denmark and Finland.

    Design of the D.XXI was conventional by mid-1930's standards. The pilot sat in an enclosed cockpit situated at about the midway point of the fuselage. Views from the glazed cockpit were adequate and featured relatively heavy framing in all useful directions though the pilot was seated forward enough to provide for better-than-average rearward views. The fuselage itself was streamlined from engine cowl to tail with construction being mainly of steel tubing covered over in most areas by fabric. Wings were constructed of wood and set as low-wing monoplanes forward of the cockpit floor. The front was dominated by the Bristol Mercury radial piston engine powering a three-bladed propeller. The undercarriage was of the typical "tail dragger" arrangement, sporting two spatted main landing gears under each wing and a single tail wheel aft. The empennage was contoured with an identifiable "razorback" style upper rear fuselage assembly leading from cockpit to the tail unit. The tail itself was traditional, featuring a single vertical tail fin and associated horizontal planes. A protruding cockpit antenna and external gunsight were distinguishing profile hallmarks of the series design.

    Armament initially consisted of 4 x 7.92mm FN Browning M36 machine guns, two mounted in the upper engine cowling synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades with an additional two in the wings (one to a wing). Finnish-produced aircraft had their cowling machine guns relocated to the wings, paired with the existing two. Another Finnish amendment (though not related to armament) was the inclusion of skis as landing gears to make for a better - and distinctly Finnish - "snow-friendly" aircraft.

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    Fokker D.XXI Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1938
    Type: Fighter Aircraft
    National Origin: Netherlands
    Manufacturer(s): Fokker - Netherlands
    Production Total: 200

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 26.90 feet (8.2 meters)
    Width: 36.09 feet (11.00 meters)
    Height: 9.68 feet (2.95 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 3,197 lb (1,450 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 4,519 lb (2,050 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Bristol Mercury VIII 9-cylinder radial piston engine developing 830 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 286 mph (460 kph; 248 knots)
    Maximum Range: 590 miles (950 km)
    Service Ceiling: 36,089 feet (11,000 meters; 6.84 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    4 x 7.92mm FN Browning M36 machine guns

    Global Operators / Customers

    Denmark; Finland; Nazi Germany; Netherlands; Spain

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    D.XXI - Production Model Series Designation

    "Project 150" - Proposed Model fitted with Bristol Hercules series radial piston engine; never produced.

    "Project 151" - Proposed Model fitted with Rolls-Royce Merlin series piston engine; never produced.

    "Project 152" - Proposed Model fitted with Daimler-Benz DB.600H series engine; never produced.