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Imperial Germany (1916)

Detailing the development and operational history of the AEG C.IV Two-Seat, Single-Engine Biplane Fighter Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 11/13/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  AEG C.IV  
Picture of AEG C.IV Two-Seat, Single-Engine Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Picture of AEG C.IV Two-Seat, Single-Engine Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The AEG-produced C-series of aircraft provided German frontline troops with a versatile offensive performer throughout the course of World War 1.

The C.IV was a twin-seat biplane aircraft produced by the German firm of Allgemeine Elektrizitats-Gesellschaft (or simply "AEG"). The type was primarily fielded as reconnaissance platform from 1916 onwards though it also served as a bomber escort and saw service with the German air service through to the end of World War 1in 1918. The C.IV represented one of AEG's most successful wartime ventures with production exceeding some estimated 658 examples.

Outwardly, the C.IV was a conventional biplane through and through. The wings featured and equal span upper and lower wing assembly with double bays and parallel struts. The engine, a single Mercedes D.III water-cooled in-line type of 160 horsepower - was mounted in the extreme forward portion of the fuselage with the distinct radiator "horn" protruding the top. The engine powered a two-blade wooden propeller. The forward portion of the fuselage was contoured to an extent, producing a somewhat aerodynamic look while the rest of the body maintained a boxy-like appearance. Seating was for two, made up of the pilot and an observer in tandem, with the pilot in the forward cockpit behind a simplistic windscreen. The pilot had access to a single Spandau machine gun offset to his right side. The system was synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades without damaging them via an interrupter gear. The observer manned the rear cockpit, facing aft, and sat inside of a Schneider-type gun mount ring. His position was dominated by a Parabellum machine gun with adequate traverse to engage trailing enemy fighters. The undercarriage remained fixed, characterized by the two large main landing gears at front and a simple tail skid under the tail section. The empennage featured a sharp-angled vertical tail fin with low-mounted horizontal stabilizers.

Performance was good for the time with the C.IV yielding a top speed of 98 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 16,404 feet. Endurance from the Mercedes engine was reported to be roughly 3 hours of flight time.

The C.IV entered service with Germany in early 1916 during the spring season. By June of 1917, no fewer than 150 examples were operating along the Western Front alone. The mount proved a success for the time it was fielded and several models continued in service after the cessation of hostilities.
The C.IV was produced in two other lesser-known variants designated as C.IVa and C.IV.N. The C.IVa distinguished itself from the base model by fitting an Argus engine of 180 horsepower. The C.IV.N was the prototype form of a C.IV night bomber developed sometime in 1917. The night bomber form was powered by a single Benz Bz.III series engine of 180 horsepower and would have carried 6 x 110lb bombs externally.

Beyond service to Imperial Germany, the C.IV was also fielded by the Turkish Flying Corps and the Bulgarian Air Force as well as with Poland - the latter in the years following the war (at least 64 examples).
AEG C.IV Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Imperial Germany
Year: 1916
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Type: Two-Seat, Single-Engine Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Allgemeine Elektritzitats Gesellschaft (AEG) - Germany
Production: 658
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 2
Length: 23.46 ft (7.15 m)
Width: 44.16 ft (13.46 m)
Height: 10.99 ft (3.35 m)
Empty Weight: 1,768 lb (802 kg)
MTOW: 2,469 lb (1,120 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Mercedes D.III water-cooled in-line engine developing 160 horsepower.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 98 mph (158 kph; 85 kts)
Maximum Range: 280 mi (450 km; 243 nm)
Service Ceiling: 16,404 ft (5,000 m; 3.11 mi)

2 x machine guns

Up to 220lbs of external ordnance

Operators List
Imperial Germany; Bulgaria; Turkey; Poland

Series Model Variants
• C.IV - Base Production Model; fitted with 1 x Mercedes D.III series water-cooled in-line engine of 160 horsepower; 1 x Spandau machine gun in forward cockpit; 1 x Parabellum machine gun in rear observer's cockpit.
• C.IVa - Fitted with a 1 x Argus engine of 180 horsepower.
• C.IV.N - Night Bomber Model with provision for 6 x 110lb bombs; fitted with 1 x Benz Bz.III engine; elongated wings.

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