Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor

Last update: 3 May 2017

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor

History

The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, also known as Kurier to the Allies was a German all-metal four-engine monoplane originally developed by Focke-Wulf as a trans-Atlantic passenger and cargo aircraft. After the outbreak of World War II, military versions of the aircraft saw service with the Luftwaffe as long-range reconnaissance and anti-shipping/maritime patrol bomber aircraft. The Luftwaffe also made extensive use of the Fw 200 as a transport.

In 1936 Deutsche Lufthansa requested designs for a 26-passenger landplane capable of nonstop service between Berlin and New York. Dr. Kurt Tank complied in 1937 with his beautiful Fw 200, an all-metal, low-wing, four-engine monoplane with double wheels that retracted into streamlined nacelles. The first prototype, the Fw 200 V1, made its first flight after just over one year of development on 27 July 1937 with Kurt Tank at the controls. Two further prototypes were powered by German 720 hp BMW 132G-1 radials. That year the Fw 200 established many world records for distance, including a 48-hour flight to Tokyo. The Japanese Navy was very impressed that requested a maritime reconnaissance version to be developed. Tank designed the Fw 200 V10 with military equipment. This Fw 200 was held in Germany because war had broken out in Europe by that time. This aircraft became the basis for all later military models used by the Luftwaffe.

To adapt it for wartime service, hardpoints were added to the wings for bombs, the fuselage was strengthened and extended to create more space, and front, aft and dorsal gun positions were added, in addition to an extended-length version of the Bola ventral gondola typical of World War II German bomber aircraft. The extra weight introduced by its military fitments meant that a number of early Fw 200 aircraft broke up on landing, a problem that was never entirely solved. Later models were equipped with Lorenz FuG 200 Hohentwiel low UHF-band ASV radar in the nose. In 1943 a version entered service that could carry the Henschel Hs 293 guided missile, mandating fitment of the associated Funkgerät FuG 203 Kehl radio guidance gear on a Condor to steer them.

General Informations

Role:Transport, reconnaissance, maritime_patrol_aircraft, bomber
Country of Origin:  German Reich
Manufacturer:Focke-Wulf
First flight:1937
First Delivery:1937
Final Delivery:1944
Total Production:276 
Landing gear:Tailwheel (retractable)

Military Operators

Operators:4 countries
 
  •  German Reich
  •  Soviet Union
  •  Spain
  •  United Kingdom

Specifications

Variant: Fw 200C-3/U4
Crew: 5
Dimensions
Length: 23.45 m (76 ft 11 in)
Height: 6.30 m (20 ft 8 in)
Wingspan: 32.85 m (107 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 119.85 m2 (1290 sq ft)
Weights
Weight Empty: 17,005 kg (37,490 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 24,520 kg (50,057 lb)
Powerplant
Model: BMW/Bramo 323R-2
Type: nine-cylinder single-row air-cooled radial engine
Number: 4
Configuration: Tractor
Power: 1200 hp (895 kW) each
Performance
Max speed: 360.0 km/h (195.0 kn, 224.0 mph)
at 4,800 m (15,750 ft)
Max speed (altitude): ()
Max speed (sea level): ()
Cruise speed: 335.0 km/h (208.0 mph)
Range: 3,560 km (2,212 mi) (1,923 nmi)
Service Ceiling: 6,000 m (19,700 ft)
Endurance: 14 hours
Armament
Guns:
  • 1 x 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in forward gondola
  • 4 x 13 mm MG 131 machine gun (dorsal and waist positions)
Bombs:
  • Up to 5,400 kg (11,905 lb) of bombs
Armament:

Variants

Fw 200 V1
First prototype.
Fw 200 V10
Military prototype.
Fw 200 A-0
Pre-production batch of fourth to ninth prototypes.
Fw 200 B-1
Transportation aircraft fitted with four BMW 132Dc engines.
Fw 200 B-2
Transportation aircraft fitted with four BMW 132H engines.
Fw 200 C-0
Pre-production batch of 10 aircraft, structural strengthening, the first four were manufactured as unarmed transports, the remaining six were fitted with armament.
Fw 200 C-1
First military production version, BMW 132H engines, fitted with full-length Bola ventral gondola which added a narrow bomb bay to the airframe, increased defensive armament, provisions for four 250 kg (550 lb) bombs.
Fw 200 C-2
Similar to C-1, but featured a recessed underside to the rear sheet metal of each of the two outboard engine nacelles which reduced drag and could carry a 250 kg (550 lb) bomb or a 300 L (80 US gal) capacity, standard Luftwaffe drop tank.
Fw 200 C-3
Structurally strengthened, fitted with Bramo 323 R-2 radial engines.
Fw 200 C-3/Umrüst-Bausatz 1(/U1)
Featured an increased defensive armament, a 15 mm MG 151 cannon in an enlarged powered forward dorsal turret similar to those used for the Bv 138's bow turret position, the 20 mm MG FF replaced by a MG 151/20 cannon.
Fw 200 C-3/U2
Fitted with original, "hemispherical" dorsal turret, and had the 20 mm MG 151/20 at the front end of the ventral Bola gondola replaced with a 13 mm (0.5 in) MG 131 machine gun, which allowed space for the installation of a Lotfe 7D bombsight.
Fw 200 C-3/U3
Fitted with two additional 13 mm MG 131s.
Fw 200 C-3/U4
Had 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 15 machine gun replaced by 13 mm MG 131s and carried an extra gunner.
Fw 200 C-4
Similar to C-3, but carried FuG Rostock search radar, late production aircraft used FuG 200 Hohentwiel radar.
Fw 200 C-4/U1 (Werk-Nr 137)
High-speed transport aircraft, only one example built with shortened Bola gondola without bomb bay. Used to transport Adolf Hitler. Heinrich Himmler and Karl Dönitz. Bore the Stammkennzeichen alphabetic code of GC + AE. Captured by British and used as transport by them while based at Airfield B.164 Schleswig, flown frequently by Eric Brown - later to RAE Farnborough with Air Min number 94
Fw 200 C-4/U2 (Werk-Nr 138)
High-speed transport aircraft with similarly shortened Bola gondola (with no bomb bay) to earlier C-4/Umrüst-Bausatz 1 version, with accommodation for 14 passengers, only one example built.
Fw 200 C-6
Several aircraft were outfitted with an early version of the FuG 203 Kehl series missile control transmitter, to carry Henschel Hs 293 missiles and re-designated C-6.
Fw 200 C-8
Fitted with Lorenz FuG 200 Hohentwiel sea-search radar; some examples equipped with FuG 203b Kehl III missile control transmitter and fitted with Hs 293 missiles.
Fw 200 S-1
Special designation for Fw 200 V1 that was flown from Berlin to Tokyo.

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