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Siemens-Schuckert D.I

Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Imperial Germany | 1916

"The Siemens-Schuckert D.I was a German reverse-engineered copy of the French Nieuport 17 biplane fighter."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
So desperate were the Germans of finding a counter to the French Nieuport 17 biplane fighter that they eventually ordered an exact, reverse-engineered copy of the aircraft through Siemens-Schuckert as the "D.I". Captured specimens allowed for a first-hand look at the intimate workings of the design and the Germans proceeded to reproduce the aircraft with German materials, weaponry, and powerplant. The German offshoot was as close to the French design as possible - its only problem being that it was that the French design was now more or less obsolete by the time the Germans were able to fly their version.

The D.I retained much of the external appearance settled by the Nieuport 11 models, yielding only subtle changes to the profile. German armament was 1 x 7.92mm LMG 08-15 machine gun (sometimes two guns) synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. The biplane wing assembly was faithful to the French design, incorporating a low upper section with a small-area lower section. Struts were of the V-style, The pilot's position was immediately behind the upper wing unit and directly aft of the engine installation. All other facets of the design mimicked that as found on the French fighter.

When introduced in 1916, the D.I was already an outclassed fighter in both German and Allied camps and was thusly forced as a trainer platform for the duration of its short career. The D.Ia was a one-off model with increased wing area. The D.Ib were two examples given Siemens-Schuckert Sh.I engines with high compression. The D.II served as a prototype platform and was outfitted with the Siemens-Halske Sh.III rotary engine of 160 horsepower within an enlarged fuselage design. Larger propeller blades were also fitted. This then spawned the D.IIa prototype followed by the D.IIb prototype before two examples of the D.IIc arrived in both "short" and "long" wingspan forms. The D.IIe was yet another prototype model before the D.III came online with its upgraded Siemens-Halske rotary engine of 160 horsepower. The line culminated with the D.IV which arrived late in the war. The D.V designation was for a proposed sesquiplane variant and D.VI was a parasol monoplane variant eventually becoming the E.I.

In any case, the Siemens-Schuckert contributions made little difference in the outcome of the war on the whole. Indeed the D.IV offshoot is considered by some as the best fighter of the whole war but only 123 were produced in 1918, arriving much too late. Production of the D.I mark included perhaps as little as 95 D.I aircraft - all manufactured under the Siemens-Schuckert Werke brand label of the German Empire.

D.I dimensions included a length of 19.7 feet, a wingspan of 24.6 feet and a height of 8.5 feet. Empty weight was 948lbs with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 1,488lbs listed. Power was through a single Siemens-Halske Sh.I geared rotary engine developing 110 horsepower while driving a two-blade propeller assembly at front. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 96 miles per hour and service ceiling of about 26,245 feet.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Siemens-Schuckert D.I Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Siemens-Halske Sh.I geared rotary engine developing 110 horsepower driving a two-bladed wooden propeller unit at the nose.
96 mph
155 kph | 84 kts
Max Speed
26,247 ft
8,000 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Siemens-Schuckert D.I Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
19.7 ft
6.00 m
O/A Length
24.6 ft
(7.50 m)
O/A Width
8.5 ft
(2.59 m)
O/A Height
948 lb
(430 kg)
Empty Weight
1,488 lb
(675 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Siemens-Schuckert D.I Biplane Fighter Aircraft .
1 OR 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Notable series variants as part of the Siemens-Schuckert D.I family line.
D.I - Base series designation; relegated to pilot training; Nieuport 11 direct copy; 95 produced.
D.II - Prototype; Siemens-Halske Sh III 160 horsepower rotary engine; larger fuselage to accomodate new engine; larger propeller blades.
D.IIa - Prototype
D.IIb - Prototype
D.IIc - 2 Prototypes (long and short wing span versions)
D.IIe - Prototype
D.III - Upgraded powerplant to Siemens-Halske 160 horsepower rotary engine.
D.IV - Late arriving and post-Armistice production variant; 60 produced.
D.V - Proposed sesquiplane variant
D.VI - Parasol Monoplane variant becoming the E.I.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Siemens-Schuckert D.I. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 95 Units

Contractor(s): Siemens-Schuckert Werke - Germany
National flag of the German Empire

[ German Empire ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (96mph).

Graph Average of 75 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Siemens-Schuckert D.I
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Siemens-Schuckert D.I Biplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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