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Heinkel / Aichi HD 23

Germany (1926)
Picture of Heinkel / Aichi HD 23 Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype

The Japanese were not impressed with the Heinkel HD 23 shipborne biplane fighter of Germany - leading to just four examples being built in total.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Heinkel / Aichi HD 23 Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype.  Entry last updated on 4/3/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke (Heinkel) of Germany began operations in the aviation business during December of 1922. From a Japanese Empire government request, their first single-seat, single-engine fighter became the "HD 23", a traditionally-arranged biplane intended for shipborne (catapult-launched, crane-recovered) operations. Following a first-flight in 1925-1926 and delivery of two prototypes from Germany in 1927, Aichi of Japan made some local modifications to the aircraft and built a further two more examples. Beyond these offerings, the GD 23 - known to the Japanese as the "Type H Carrier Fighter" - was not adopted for service after being evaluated at length by Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) authorities.

As built, the HD 23 seated one pilot in an open-air cockpit positioned high over the nose section. The wing mainplanes were of equal span and included an upper and lower wing section joined by a network of support struts (N-style) and cabling. The lower fuselage incorporated a boat-like hull and held flotation bags for on-water landings in case of emergency. The undercarriage was wheeled at the two main leg members and fixed during flight. Dimensions included a length of 24.8 feet, a wingspan of 35.4 feet and a height of 12.4 feet. Empty weight was 3,240lb against an MTOW of 4,560lb.

The original German prototype (HD 23a) was powered by the BMW VIa 12-cylinder, water-cooled engine delivering 600 horsepower and the second followed with a Hispano-Suiza 12Ha engine of 450 horsepower. In-service aircraft were to carry 2 x 7.92mm machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

Once available to Aichi engineers in Japan, workers installed a jettisonable undercarriage for on-water operations (landing and take-off) as well as wing-based slats for better control. In testing the aircraft was found to possess poor qualities for a shipborne fighter - it was underpowered and heavy and exhibited inadequate control. In testing the HD 23a reached a speed of 160mph and a service ceiling of 26,000 feet.

Any available statistics for the Heinkel / Aichi HD 23 Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype 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: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (155mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
4
4


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


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Origin: Germany
Year: 1926
Type: Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke (Heinkel) - Germany / Aichi - Imperial Japan
Production: 4
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan (cancelled)
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 Heinkel HD 23a model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
24.77 ft


Meters
7.55 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
35.43 ft


Meters
10.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.47 ft


Meters
3.8 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,241 lb


Kilograms
1,470 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
4,564 lb


Kilograms
2,070 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x BMW VIa 12-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 660 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
155 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
250 kph


Knots
135 kts


Performance
CEILING


Feet
25,919 ft


Meters
7,900 m


Miles
4.91 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
2 x 7.92mm machine guns mounted over the nose, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• HD 23 - Base Series Designation
• HD 23a - Initial prototype form; two completed in Germany, two completed in Japan.