© Michael Bykov
The Ar.234B-2 from a structure 9./KG76, March, 1945.
First Ar.234-v9 prototype flown on March, 10, 1943 with engines Jumo-004b-1.
On the first the production Ar.234b-1 the autopilot was established, equipment by external fuel tanks became the standard. But pure reconnaissance aircraft Аr.234b-1 was only a step to more high-power Аr.234b-2, capable to execute roles of a bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.
Maximum bombs loading in Аr.234b reached 1500 kg, including one of 500 kg a bomb under a fuselage and on the same bomb under each propulsion nacelle.
In total were built 525 aircrafts, including prototypes.
The Ar 234 jet aircraft did not have the great impact upon domestic design thought that the Me 262 did. The Germans produced these machines in two versions—the Ar 234B with two Jumo 004 engines and the Ar 234C with four BMW 003 engines. In March 1945 in Germany, a brigade headed by Engineer-Major I. G. Rabkin discovered Ar 234B-2 No. 140355. Its landing gear, wing, and some primary members of the fuselage had been damaged during a forced landing. Soon, the aircraft was rebuilt at a repair plant in the town of Ribnitz, but one of its Junkers engines malfunctioned during its first flight in June 1945. An Air Forces Scientific Research Institute brigade again repaired the aircraft and performed the first stage of flight-testing in Germany.
As it turned out, the airfields in Puetnitz, Rechlin, and Laerz could not handle jet aircraft. Their runways could handle the take offs only if the jet bombers had their weight reduced significantly (the Germans had blown up the Rechlin Test Center concrete runway and the adjacent natural grass strip had to be used). Nevertheless, in January-February 1946, Major A G. Kubyshkin flew five Arado sorties. During that time, two engines malfunctioned. On 26 January, a port engine failed during climb-out and, exactly 1 month later, the starboard engine flamed out during the takeoff roll. Fires occurred both times, but the aircraft were rescued.
In January, Kubyshkin faced real trouble when he noticed a cloud of thick black smoke behind his plane. He decided to make an emergency landing, but it was rather difficult, because the aircraft still had large amount of fuel on board. When the Arado turned on to final, its landing gear actuator malfunctioned and Kubyshkin had to resort to emergency landing gear extension, but was unable to lower the flaps.
P. M. Stefanovskiy, who watched the dramatic flight, remembered: "It is absolutely impossible to stop a jet aircraft with half-full fuel tanks in a short distance, using only the brakes and without the help of flaps. But, the Arado had an original novelty - an enormous brake chute... When only a few dozen meters were left to the woods, Kubyshkin jerked the lever. As if its tail had been caught by a giant's mighty hand, the aircraft stopped a few meters away from the yellow trunks of huge pine trees".
Despite the fact that the test pilot managed to "tame" the machine, in his report he noted the takeoff and landing difficulties thanks to its narrow undercarriage (it was especially hard to hold it at the beginning of the takeoff roll if there was a cross wind). Its brakes were inefficient, too. This was stated in the test program conclusions: "Ar 234B-2 take off and landing qualities do not allow it to be flown with full load from airfields of the usual size without boosters and a brake chute while landing". Having had the opportunity to compare the German Jets Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Kochetkov thought that the Arado was more difficult to handle than was the Me 262.
|Wing span, m
||2 X 900kg
|Weight, kg: |
|Maximum speed at altitude 6000 m, km/h
|Rate of climb, m/sek
|Service ceiling, m
|Service range, km
|2 X 30-mm cannon, bomb load, kg
- "Aviation of Luftwaffe" /Viktor Shunkov/
- "The German Imprint on the History of Russian Aviation " /D.A. Sobolev, D.B. Khazanov/
- "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/