Military Factory logo

Henschel Hs 121 - Nazi Germany, 1934

Detailing the development and operational history of the Henschel Hs 121 Advanced Fighter Trainer Prototype Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 1/16/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Henschel Hs 121  
Picture of Henschel Hs 121

The Henschel Hs 121 - the first aircraft offering by the company - failed to impress German authorities heading into the World War 2 period.

Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. (est. 1933) of Germany had its first aircraft in the Hs 121 of 1934. This design utilized braced high-wing mainplanes as well as an open-air cockpit (seating for one) and featured a fixed undercarriage with spatted wheels. The type was developed to serve as an advanced fighter trainer for the new, and growing, German Luftwaffe but the design was not adopted by the service nor any foreign buyers. Nevertheless, the introduction of this machine gave Henschel its first aircraft ever and paved the way for more designs that followed into World War 2 (1939-1945).

The Hs 121 was a product of its time - relying on proven aircraft qualities while also making the shift to more modern characteristics such as all-metal construction. This Henschel aircraft design was, indeed, comprised largely of metal save for some surfaces being skinned in fabric. A propeller was set within the nose-mounted spinner and this was driven by way of an Argus As 10C series inverted inline pistol engine of 240 horsepower output. The pilot sat aft of the wing mainplane arrangement which, coupled with the long nose of the aircraft, restricted views.

Performance included a maximum speed of 173 miles per hour with a cruising speed nearing 155 miles per hour. The aircraft could manage a service ceiling up to 21,320 feet with a rate-of-climb of 1,640 feet per minute. In-flight endurance was around two hours.

A test article was constructed for presentation to Luftwaffe authorities and this first flew on January 4th, 1934. However, it did not have many qualities to recommend itself and the product was further doomed by poor flight characteristics for an advanced fighter trainer - leaving only a sole example built.

Henschel found more success with their Hs 126 of 1937 which ended as one of the Luftwaffe's most effective short-ranged reconnaissance-minded platforms of World War 2 during the early-going.

Henschel Hs 121 Specifications

Service Year: 1934
Type: Advanced Fighter Trainer Prototype Aircraft
National Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer(s): Henschel Flugzeugwerke A.G. - Nazi Germany
Total Production: 1

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 23.95 feet (7.3 meters)
Overall Width: 32.81 feet (10.00 meters)
Overall Height: 9.19 feet (2.80 meters)

Weight (Empty): 1,676 lb (760 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 2,116 lb (960 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 1 x Argus As 10C 8-cylinder inverted air-cooled inline piston engine developing 240 horsepower and driving a multi-bladed propeller unit at the nose.

Maximum Speed: 150 knots (173 mph; 278 kph)
Maximum Range: 300 nautical miles (345 miles; 556 km)
Service Ceiling: 21,325 feet (6,500 meters; 4.04 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,640 feet-per-minute (500 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload


Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Nazi Germany (not adopted)

Model Variants

Hs 121 - Base Series Designation

Images Gallery