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Siemens-Schuckert D.I

Imperial Germany (1916)
Picture of Siemens-Schuckert D.I Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Siemens-Schuckert D.I was a German reverse-engineered copy of the French Nieuport 17 biplane fighter.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Siemens-Schuckert D.I Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 10/26/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©

So desperate were the Germans of finding a counter to the French Nieuport 17 biplane fighter that they eventually ordered an exact, reverse-engineered copy of the aircraft through Siemens-Schuckert as the "D.I". Captured specimens allowed for a first-hand look at the intimate workings of the design and the Germans proceeded to reproduce the aircraft with German materials, weaponry, and powerplant. The German offshoot was as close to the French design as possible - its only problem being that it was that the French design was now more or less obsolete by the time the Germans were able to fly their version.

The D.I retained much of the external appearance settled by the Nieuport 11 models, yielding only subtle changes to the profile. German armament was 1 x 7.92mm LMG 08-15 machine gun (sometimes two guns) synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blade. The biplane wing assembly was faithful to the French design, incorporating a low upper section with a small-area lower section. Struts were of the V-style, The pilot's position was immediately behind the upper wing unit and directly aft of the engine installation. All other facets of the design mimicked that as found on the French fighter.

When introduced in 1916, the D.I was already an outclassed fighter in both German and Allied camps and was thusly forced as a trainer platform for the duration of its short career. The D.Ia was a one-off model with increased wing area. The D.Ib were two examples given Siemens-Schuckert Sh.I engines with high compression. The D.II served as a prototype platform and was outfitted with the Siemens-Halske Sh.III rotary engine of 160 horsepower within an enlarged fuselage design. Larger propeller blades were also fitted. This then spawned the D.IIa prototype followed by the D.IIb prototype before two examples of the D.IIc arrived in both "short" and "long" wingspan forms. The D.IIe was yet another prototype model before the D.III came online with its upgraded Siemens-Halske rotary engine of 160 horsepower. The line culminated with the D.IV which arrived late in the war. The D.V designation was for a proposed sesquiplane variant and D.VI was a parasol monoplane variant eventually becoming the E.I.

In any case, the Siemens-Schuckert contributions made little difference in the outcome of the war on the whole. Indeed the D.IV offshoot is considered by some as the best fighter of the whole war but only 123 were produced in 1918, arriving much too late. Production of the D.I mark included perhaps as little as 95 D.I aircraft - all manufactured under the Siemens-Schuckert Werke brand label of the German Empire.

D.I dimensions included a length of 19.7 feet, a wingspan of 24.6 feet and a height of 8.5 feet. Empty weight was 948lbs with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 1,488lbs listed. Power was through a single Siemens-Halske Sh.I geared rotary engine developing 110 horsepower while driving a two-blade propeller assembly at front. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 96 miles per hour and service ceiling of about 26,245 feet.

Any available statistics for the Siemens-Schuckert D.I Biplane Fighter Aircraft 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: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (96mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era Impact
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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

Altitude Visualization
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Supported Mission Types:
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Service Year: 1916
Classification Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Siemens-Schuckert Werke - Germany
Production Units: 95
Global Operators:
Imperial Germany
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Siemens-Schuckert D.I model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.




19.69 ft

6 m


24.61 ft

7.5 m


8.50 ft

2.59 m


948 lb

430 kg


1,488 lb

675 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Siemens-Halske Sh.I geared rotary engine developing 110 horsepower.


96 mph

155 kph

84 kts


26,247 ft

8,000 m

4.97 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 OR 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• D.I - Base series designation; relegated to pilot training; 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.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.