Arado Ar 196

Arado Ar 196 A-3, DH+HT leaving the assembly room. [Kagero Archive]

The Ar 196 A-4 was a modified version of Ar 196 A-2. Its production began in the end of 1940, as a replacement for Ar 196 A-1 on board heavy units of the Kriegsmarine. The difference between the A-2 and A-4 version, was the addition of two fuel tanks in the rear sections of both floats, one in each, and propeller spinner. The Arado factory in Warenmünde produced 24 planes of the A-4 version.
The Arado Ar 196 A-3 was the most popular version, of which 297 planes were built (274 in Warenmünde and 23 under licence by the S.N.C.A factory in St. Nazaire, France). These planes were armed similarly to A-2 version, there was a slight difference in the modified equipment, they had propeller spinner and FuG 16 Z radio station instead of FuG VII.
The final model in the serial production was the Ar 196 A-5 powered by the BMW 132 W engine and equipped with FuG 16, FuG 25 and later FuG 141 radio stations. To provide better defence of the tail hemisphere, a single MG 15 machine gun on a flexible mount was replaced by twin 7.92 mm MG 81 machine gun with 2000 rounds.
A total of ninety one Ar 196 A-5 planes were built (22 in Warenmünde and 69 under licence by the Fokker factory in Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
In spring of 1941 ten experimental Ar 196 B-0 planes, with single centreline float, were also built (6 according to some sources). They were also tested in frontline conditions in Bordfliegerstaffel 1./196.
In 1941 the Arado factory designed a new version Ar 196 C, which was to be equipped with a more powerful engine and stronger armament composed of two 20 mm Mauser MG 151/20 cannons, two 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns and a twin 7.92 mm MG 81 machine gun used by the radio operator. Also, they were to be equipped with new, larger floats. These were being designed by the Institut für Seeflugwesen (Institute for Marine Aviation) in Hamburg.
The production of Arado 196 stopped in August 1944, with approximately 551 planes built (536 of the A model, 10 of the B model and 5 prototypes).
Only three Ar 196 A survived to this day, the first in the Naval Museum in Varna, Bulgaria, the second in the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the third in the Willow Grove Naval Station in Pennsylvania.

The Arado Ar 196 A was a single engine, two-seater with twin floats fixed to wings and fuselage, equipped for a ship catapult launching.
The oval–shaped fuselage was constructed on a welded frame made of steel tubing with trapezium cross sections. The forward section, up to the cockpit, the upper part up to the rear cockpit and the tail section near the control surfaces were covered with duraluminium sheets riveted or bolted. The middle and tail sections were covered with fabric. The engine cradle was secured at four points to frames no. 1 and no. 2. The construction was strengthened where the catapult hooks were attached. The lower section of the frames no. 2 and no. 8 housed the hook eyes of the float struts.

The cockpit of the Arado Ar 196 A-1 seen from the radio operator’s position.[Kagero Archive]

The cockpit was divided into pilot position with the metal pilot’s seat adapted for the seat-type parachute and the observer position with the seat mounted on rails between the frames no. 7 and no. 13. It could be set in three positions and a special strap acted as a backrest. Three-part canopy was slided backwards and the spotter’s position was open at the rear. The 7.92 mm MG 15 was asymmetrically placed on the right side on a flexible mount. Pilot’s instrument panel was attached to the frame no. 3. A box with the naval equipment (anchors, ropes) was located in the forward section of the cockpit’s floor. Batteries were at the opposite end. Two steps were located on each sides of the cockpit, with an additional box containing a first aid kit and a locker with 30 flares for the signal pistol. In the rear, behind the radio operator position, in the upper section of the fuselage were two cases containing hand flare grenades.
Two duraluminium, all-metal, floats had 27 frames each. Capacity of a single float was 2750 litres. The frames no. 10 and no. 19 had joints that enabled their installation under fuselage and wing struts. The steel W-shaped struts were reinforced with steel anchor cables. Three steps that facilitated boarding the plane were located on the forward strut. The rudders were located in the rear part of the floats. There was a possibility of attaching special gear to floats that enabled take-off and landing on water. There were seven watertight compartments inside each of the floats. A 300 litre fuel tank was located between frames no. 10 and no. 15, behind it, between the frames no. 15 and no. 17. was the fog generator and a container with canned food and a flare pistol with a supply of red, white and green flares used in case of ditching.