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Siemens-Schuckert D.III Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Siemens-Schuckert D.III was plagued by engine troubles early on, delaying its use along the Front for a time.

 Entry last updated on 10/26/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Siemens-Schuckert D.III  
Picture of Siemens-Schuckert D.III Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Siemens-Schuckert D series of fighters evolved from captured French-made Nieuport 11 aircraft. The D.III appeared as an improved D.I - a design which arrived too late to be of much use and was therefore relegated to trainer. The D.III was developed from the D.IIc longer wing span prototype and featured a smaller propeller with shortened landing gears.

Production of the D.III began as an initial batch of fifty aircraft with all being received by the end of February 1918. The D.III was well-received by her pilots as she sported unparalleled climbing attributes vital in any dogfight. The honeymoon was soon over, however, as the 160 horsepower proved to overheat consistently after just 10 hours of operation time. While engine issues were ironed out, the D.III was pulled from service in favor of the Fokker D.VII. D.III systems were back in service by July 1918 with their engines adjusted for better cooling along with a redesigned rudder. Thirty of these "new build" D.III series aircraft were delivered and put into action immediately.

The D.III was eventually followed up with the D.IV, another D.series design developed from a D.IIc short wing span prototype.

Siemens-Schuckert D.III

Service Year: 1917
Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Manufacturer(s): Siemens-Schuckert Werke - Germany
Total Units Built: 130

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 18.70 feet (5.7 meters)
Overall Width: 27.66 feet (8.43 meters)
Overall Height: 9.19 feet (2.80 meters)

Weight (Empty): 1,177 lb (534 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 1,598 lb (725 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine Type: 1 x Siemens-Halske Sh III 11-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine developing 160 horsepower.

Top Speed: 97 knots (112 mph; 180 kph)
Service Ceiling: 26,247 feet (8,000 meters; 4.97 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,260 feet-per-minute (384 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 7.92mm machine guns

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Imperial Germany

Siemens-Schuckert D.III Variants

D.I - Pilot trainer; Nieuport 11 direct copy; 95 produced.
D.II - Prototype; Siemens-Halske Sh III 160 horsepower rotary engine; larger fuselage to accomodate new engine; larger propeller blades.
D.II - Larger and wider fuselage
D.IIa - Prototype
D.IIb - Prototype
D.IIc - 2 Prototypes (long and short wing span versions)
D.IIe - Prototype
D.III - Upgraded powerplant to Siemens-Halske 160 horsepower rotary engine.
D.IV - Late arriving and post-Armistice production variant; 60 produced.
D.V - Proposed sesquiplane variant
D.VI - Parasol Monoplane variant becoming the E.I.

Siemens-Schuckert D.III Images