The one-off Friedrichshafen FF43 floatplane fighter prototype (detailed elsewhere on this site) failed to impressed German Navy authorities back in 1916 but the service thought enough of the base design to order it in three prototype land-based forms. As such, the FF43 lost its twin floats (which permitted waterborne landings and take-offs) and was given a traditional "tail-dragger" wheeled arrangement. Three aircraft - known internally as "FF46" - were contracted for in September 1916 by authorities to serve under the "D.I" designation.
Like the FF.43 before it, the FF46 carried the proven Mercedes D.III V6 water-cooled inline piston engine of 160 horsepower, this used to drive a two-bladed, fixed-pitched wooden propeller at the nose in tractor fashion. The fighter seated one in an open-air cockpit and relied on a single-bay, unequal-span wing mainplane arrangement with parallel struts. The upper wing member was kept close to the fuselage and had a section of its trailing edge cut out to enhance pilot vision around his aircraft. Armament would centered on 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mountings over the nose - synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades as was common to the time.
Despite the order for three total aircraft, just two prototypes would eventually be realized. The first was given vertical cabane-style struts at the wing members while the second offering differed in its implantation of splayed strut supports in an effort to further enhance pilot vision.
The FF.46 was not formally tested by the Germans until April of 1917 by which point the design had little to offer over its competitors. As such, no serial production was undertaken of the type and the two examples were later scrapped.
The FF.46 was the first in several biplane fighters that Friedrichshafen would offer during the war - contracts proving to be elusive. The company went defunct in 1923 and its production center taken over by Dornier.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
21.2 ft (6.45 m)
29.7 ft (9.05 m)
9.5 ft (2.90 m)
1,510 lb (685 kg)
1,984 lb (900 kg)
+474 lb (+215 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Friedrichshafen D.I production variant)
1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.