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Heinkel / Aichi HD 23

Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype

Germany | 1926

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

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Heinkel HD 23a Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype.
1 x BMW VIa 12-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 660 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
155 mph
250 kph | 135 kts
Max Speed
25,919 ft
7,900 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Heinkel HD 23a Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype.
24.8 ft
7.55 m
O/A Length
35.4 ft
(10.80 m)
O/A Width
12.5 ft
(3.80 m)
O/A Height
3,241 lb
(1,470 kg)
Empty Weight
4,564 lb
(2,070 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Heinkel / Aichi HD 23 Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype .
2 x 7.92mm machine guns mounted over the nose, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Notable series variants as part of the Heinkel / Aichi HD 23 family line.
HD 23 - Base Series Designation
HD 23a - Initial prototype form; two completed in Germany, two completed in Japan.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/03/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

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.

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Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Heinkel / Aichi HD 23. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 4 Units

Contractor(s): Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke (Heinkel) - Germany / Aichi - Imperial Japan
National flag of modern Japan

[ Imperial Japan (cancelled) ]
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Image of the Heinkel / Aichi HD 23
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Heinkel / Aichi HD 23 Shipborne Biplane Fighter Prototype appears in the following collections:
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