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Hafeli DH-2

Armed Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft [ 1916 ]

The DH-2 was the second attempt by Arthur Hafeli to produce a workable armed reconnaissance biplane for the Swiss Air Force.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/11/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Fresh off the heels of its 1916 DH-1 twin-boom reconnaissance biplane design (detailed elsewhere on this site), Eidgenoessische Konstruktionswerkstaette (K+W) of Switzerland moved its attention to a possibly improved successor, the aptly-designated "DH-2" with Arthur Hafeli once again at the helm of the new development. Flying the same year as its predecessor, the DH-2 took on a more conventional in-line design, doing away with the twin-boom approach, though still relying on a biplane mainplane framework and two-person crew. Like the DH-1 before it, the DH-2 saw only limited production totals of just six aircraft and, similarly, was only in service with the Swiss Air Force for a short time.

The DH-2 of 1916 followed suit in that it was developed along the lines of a reconnaissance platform. The engine was set at the nose for tractor/puller function as opposed to the DH-1's trailer/pusher configuration at the rear of the central nacelle. A pair of open-air cockpits allowed for a crew of two, pilot and observer. The mainplane utilized the typical over-under arrangement of the time and featured twin bays with parallel strut works. Fabric-over-wood construction was used throughout most of the design. The tail included a single, small-area vertical fin and a pair of horizontal planes. For ground-running, a fixed, twin-legged/twin-wheeled undercarriage with tailskid was used.

While its original prototype form carried a German 100 horsepower Mercedes D.I engine, primary power for the series eventually stemmed from a single Argus As II liquid-cooled inline piston engine of 120 horsepower and this used to drive a wooden propeller blade at the nose (the same as powering the earlier DH-1). Estimated performance figures included a maximum speed of 75 miles-per-hour, a range out to 150 miles, and a service ceiling of around 30,000 feet.

All told, the design failed to meet expectations mainly through under-performance which led to no serial production being ordered. This left just the six aforementioned completed airframes which were used strictly for airman training by the Swiss Air Force until 1922 - at which point all were retired and scrapped.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Switzerland national flag graphic

Not in Service.


Eidgenossische Konstruktionswerkstaette (K+W) / Hafeli - Switzerland
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Switzerland Switzerland
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.

Addition of more mainplanes to enhance inherent agility, providing a tactical edge in tight engagements.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
Manual process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to exit in the event of an airborne emergency.
Beyond a pilot, the aircraft takes advantage of additional crew specialized in specific functions aboard the aircraft.
Defensive gun positions for engagement / suppression.

26.2 ft
(8.00 m)
38.4 ft
(11.70 m)
10.2 ft
(3.10 m)
Empty Wgt
1,653 lb
(750 kg)
2,425 lb
(1,100 kg)
Wgt Diff
+772 lb
(+350 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Hafeli DH-2 production variant)
biplane / over-under / straight
Design utilizes a dual-plane wing arrangement in which one mainplane member is seated above the other; biplanes enhance agility at the expense of added drag.
Dual mainplane configuration seating the members in an over-under fashion and poisitoned at different points along the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the base Hafeli DH-2 production variant)
Installed: 1 x Argus As II liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 120 horsepower driving twin-bladed, fixed-pitch wooden propeller at the nose.
Max Speed
78 mph
(125 kph | 67 kts)
Cruise Speed
65 mph
(105 kph | 57 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+12 mph
(+20 kph | 11 kts)
32,283 ft
(9,840 m | 6 mi)
155 mi
(250 km | 463 nm)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Hafeli DH-2 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Assumed to be 1 x 7.45mm machine gun on trainable mounting at observer's cockpit position.

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0

DH-2 - Base Series Designation.

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Image of the Hafeli DH-2
Image from the Public Domain.

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