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Focke-Wulf Fw 57

Nazi Germany (1936)
Picture of Focke-Wulf Fw 57 Prototype Fighter-Bomber

The Focke-Wulf Fw 57 was being developed as a fighter-bomber for Germany prior to World War 2 - only three prototypes emerged.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Focke-Wulf Fw 57 Prototype Fighter-Bomber.  Entry last updated on 12/17/2013. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Focke-Wulf Fw 57 was born during a period of military aviation history when the enemy bomber required a direct counter in the form of the heavy fighter. For the German Luftwaffe, these designs existed under the "Zerstorer" ("Destroyer") label which included the like of the more famous Messerschmitt Bf 110. The Fw 57 was actually in competition with the Bf 110 through a new Reich Air Ministry (RLM) specification calling for a bomber destroyer. The requirement appeared in 1934 and put three designs in the lead from Focke-Wulf, Messerschmitt and Henschel as the Fw 57, Bf 110 and Hs 124 respectively. The Bf 110 eventually won out to become the bomber destroyer of choice and led a lengthy service career throughout World War 2 - though outmoded by war's end. The Fw 57 failed in its attempt due to its weight and handling characteristics. As a bomber destroyer, the type was to exhibit fighter-like qualities to content with enemy fighter types of the day while carry armament suitable for downing larger enemy bombers. A bomb-carrying capacity was also assumed for light bombing sorties. While the Bf 100 managed a strong production run of 6,170 aircraft, the Fw 57 was constructed in just three prototype examples. The Hs 124 fared worse with two prototypes completed and ultimately lost to history.

At its core, the Fw 57 was a large, twin-engined aircraft. It featured a crew of three to include the pilot, navigator and dedicated machine gunner. The fuselage exhibited a running length of 54 feet with a wingspan of 82 feet and height of 13.4 feet. Empty weight was listed at 15,000lbs with a loaded weight nearing 18,300lbs. The fuselage was a stepped, smoothly contoured shape, tapered in a teardrop shape to the single-finned empennage (with its requisite horizontal tailplanes). Heavy framing was used throughout the cockpit which sat the three crew inline. The main wings were low-mounted along the fuselage sides with each engine nacelle at the wing leading edge. Power was served through 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 600A series inverted V12 engines developing 910 horsepower each and driving three-bladed metal propellers. This allowed the aircraft a top spe3ed of 250 miles per hour with a cruising speed closer to 230 miles per hour. Its service ceiling was 29,900 feet. Construction incorporated metal skin which proved a departure from the age of canvas-over-wood designs.

Armament was at the heart of the design. Two 20mm MG FF series cannons were installed in the nose assembly and controlled by the pilot. A single 20mm MG FF cannon was installed in an electrically-powered turret provided by the Mauser concern. The use of a powered turret was something lacking from most Luftwaffe aircraft during World War 2 so this was certainly a unique design quality of the Fw 57. The turret made up the third crewman position. In addition to its conventional standard armament, the Fw 57 was cleared to carry 6 x 220lb drop bombs in the bombing role. All told, the Fw 57 held the capability to tangle with both fighters and bombers while also supporting ground offensives.

On paper, the Fw 57 was a sound aeroplane though during its testing phase it proved the opposite. Despite the power generated from its twin engines, the aircraft proved heavy and sluggish and was well-beaten by its competitors. At least three prototypes - designated in the usual German V1, V2 and V3 markings - were completed and used into 1936. The Luftwaffe eventually settled on the more promising Bf 110 submission which left the Fw 57 and Hs 124 out in the cold. Both of these programs were eventually abandoned by their respective companies.

Any available statistics for the Focke-Wulf Fw 57 Prototype Fighter-Bomber are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (251mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
3
3


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Nazi Germany
Year: 1936
Type: Prototype Fighter-Bomber
Manufacturer(s): Focke-Wulf - Nazi Germany
Production: 3
Global Operators:
Nazi Germany
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Focke-Wulf Fw 57 V1 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
53.81 ft


Meters
16.4 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
82.02 ft


Meters
25 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
13.45 ft


Meters
4.1 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
15,025 lb


Kilograms
6,815 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
18,342 lb


Kilograms
8,320 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Daimler-Benz DB 600A V12 engines developing 910 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
251 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
404 kph


Knots
218 kts


Performance
CEILING


Feet
29,856 ft


Meters
9,100 m


Miles
5.65 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (6):

STANDARD (Proposed):
2 x 20mm MG FF cannons in nose
1 x 20mm MG FF cannon in electrically-powered Mauser dorsal turret.

OPTIONAL:
6 x 220lb bombs.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Fw 57 - Base Series Designation
• Fw 57 V1 - First Prototype
• Fw 57 V2 - Second Prototype
• Fw 57 V3 - Third Prototype