Allgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellschaft AG (AEG) of the German Empire attempted an earlier aircraft design for the armored ground attack role as the AEG "PE" ("Panzer-Einsitzer"). While that triplane was shown to possess poor one-on-one fighter capabilities and was ultimately abandoned during development, the company persisted with the idea of an armored attacker. In September of 1918, it unveiled the DJ.I through a first-flight.
The DJ.I continued some of the form and function established by the PE but attempted to resolve issues by relying on a simplified biplane wing arrangement. The upper and lower members were joined by thick single "I-style" struts and cabling was minimized. Dural construction made up the wing's internal structure and fabric skinning covered them. Because of the low-altitude operation expected of such attacking types (and thus the inherent dangers from ground-based fire), the aircraft was finished with armoring (sheet aluminum skinning) protecting vital components: pilot, fuel stores, and engine.
The first of three prototypes carried the Benz Bz.IIIb engine of 195 horsepower while the third was issued the Maybach Mb IVa engine of 240 horsepower. In either case the engine was installed at the nose in the traditional fashion used to drive a four-bladed propeller. The pilot sat in an open-air cockpit just aft of the upper wing assembly with a commanding view over the aircraft.
Like many other mid-to-late-war biplane fighter types, the DJ.I was outfitted with a machine gun pairing synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. This was made up of 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 Spandau air-cooled machine gun weapons. The aircraft was designed to carry a modest bomb load (primarily anti-personnel in nature). In this way, the aircraft could strafe targets with machine gun fire and drop conventional ordnance on infantry positions. Additionally, the machine gun pairing could be turned against any aerial attacker attempting to down the DJ.I itself.
Performance included a maximum speed of 112 miles per hour and a rate-of-climb of 820 feet per minute.
Despite the progress made on this AEG attacker, the war had ended while the design was still under active evaluation so its potential was never realized. With the end of the conflict in November 1918 came the end of development on the DJ.I.
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