Design work on the RWD 23 was started in September 1938 as a light low-wing trainer. The main designer was Andrzej Anczutin of the RWD bureau. Among the designers were also Bronisław Żurakowski and Tadeusz Chyliński. Chyliński designed the base mount for its engine. Low power output and simple wooden construction would make it cheap and economical in service.
The first prototype (registration SP-BPO) was flown in late 1938 or early 1939 at Warsaw by Eugenne Przysiecki. It underwent factory trials in June 1939, then it was given to the Aviation Technical Institute for tests. In July 1939, the aircraft at the Torun Sea Rally, organised by the Aero Club of Pomerania. It was destroyed in the factory in the first days of World War II, in September 1939. The plane was found as successful; it could also perform basic aerobatics.
A wooden construction low-wing cantilever monoplane, conventional in layout, with a fixed landing gear and open cockpits. Fuselage semi-monocoque, rectangular in cross-section, plywood-covered. Single-piece trapezoid wings with rounded tips, single-spar, plywood (front) and canvas covered, fitted with flaps. Conventional tail, plywood (fins) and canvas (elevators and rudder) covered. Two open cockpits in tandem, with individual windshields and twin controls. Rear cockpit was raised a bit for a better view. Conventional fixed landing gear with a rear skid, main gear in aerodynamic covers.
The second improved prototype was started in the Summer of 1939, with some modifications based on results of the tests of the first prototype, and was under construction when the war broke out, but it was not completed. The LOPP paramilitary organization ordered a series of 10 aircraft, that were not completed due to the war.One RWD-23 was commissioned as a show for Egypt. It has not been delivered because of the war. The sole RWD 23 remained a prototype.
There was design work on a sports version of the RWD-23, which received the designation RWD-26 .
Engine: 1 × Walter Mikron II, Takeoff - 48 kW (65 hp), Continuous - 44 kW (60 hp)
Length: 8 m (26 ft 3 in)
Wingspan: 11.1 m (364 ft 2 in)
Height: 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)
Wing area: 16 m2 (170 sq ft)
Empty weight: 325 kg (717 lb)
Gross weight: 550 kg (1,213 lb)
Fuel capacity: 50 l (11 imp gal)
Maximum speed: 171 km/h (106 mph; 92 kn) at sea level
Cruising speed: 145 km/h (90 mph; 78 kn)
Stall speed: 65 km/h (40 mph; 35 kn)
Range: 450 km (280 mi; 243 nmi)
Service ceiling: 4,000 m (13,123 ft)
Rate of climb: 2.083 m/s (410.0 ft/min)
Time to altitude: 1,000 m (3,281 ft) in 8 minutes
Endurance: 3.2 hr
Wing loading: 34.4 kg/m2 (7.0 lb/sq ft)
Power/mass: 0.081 kW/kg (0.049 hp/lb)