The Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen aero-concern was established in Germany in June of 1912, just prior to the events of World War 1 (1914-1918). In the scope of the war, the company became an entrenched player for the German military, eventually making a name of itself as a producer of seaplanes/floatplanes and large bombers (though proving less successful in the traditional fighter category). The company lasted only until 1923 but nonetheless left its impression on the war.
It was during the middle of 1916, as the war raged across Europe, that the company drew up plan for an all-new floatplane / biplane fighter with an inherent ability to take-off and land from/on water. The design was known as the FF.43 and intended to satisfy a defensive role for floatplane bases utilized by the Imperial German Navy at the time. The highly conventional floatplane was of single-seat, single-engine design with unequal-span, single-bay biplane wing arrangement. The definitive feature was its twin floats which permitted waterborne service.
The aircraft was powered by the Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder, water-cooled engine driving a two-bladed wooden, fixed-pitch propeller at the nose. As tested, the aircraft could manage a maximum speed of 101 miles-per-hour, a range out to 250 miles, and a service ceiling up to 9,800 feet.
Armament was 1 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 belt-fed, air-cooled machine gun set over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
In June, the German navy looked into the FF.43 and other competing designs for possible service adaptation. Friedrichshafen wrapped up its work on the floatplane fighter in August of 1916 and a first-flight was recorded on September 8th, 1916 - the example now in the hands of Seaplane Testing Command. The aircraft was trialed at Zeebrugge as if under operational use during October but was not selected for further work nor serial production.
The sole FF.43 floatplane fighter was scrapped in April of 1917.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy surface elements through visual acquisition, radar support, and onboard weaponry.
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
28.1 ft (8.55 m)
32.5 ft (9.92 m)
11.0 ft (3.35 m)
1,764 lb (800 kg)
2,381 lb (1,080 kg)
+617 lb (+280 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Friedrichshafen FF.43 production variant)
1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower driving two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
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