Five prototypes of Ar 68 single-seat fighter biplane (the Luftwaffe's first fighter) appeared in 1933, powered by BMW VI or Junkers Jumo 210 engines. The choice of engine was influenced by the availability. Rethel wanted the Jumo 210 but other manufacturers had claims before Arado so they had to settle on the BMW VI until supplies of the former were more readily available.
Designed to replace the Heinkel He 51, it was sent to Spain for operational evaluation. Three aircraft were sent to La Cenia in January 1937 for use in an experimen-tal night-fighter flight. They were used briefly, but apparently ineffectively, against Republican Potez 540 and Bloch 200/210 bombers.
All three aircraft were painted over-all RLM 63 gray. In early 1938, the two surviving Arados (coded 9-1 and 9-2) were transferred to the Nationalists, who used them in the 2nd Army Co-operation Group.
The first version to enter production and service (1936) was the Ar.68F, powered by the BMW engine, followed after a small production run by the improved 514kW Jumo Da- or Ea-engined Ar.68E.
Prototype Ar.65G and H versions were subsequently built, of which only the supercharged 533.4kW BMW 132 Da-engined 'H' was fully developed. The Ar68H was flown using the BMW 132Da radial, a license built Pratt and Whitney Hornet, this engine offered a very much improved performance (max speed 400 km/h) but it was all too late. But even this failed to enter production despite having four machine-guns and an enclosed cockpit for the pilot. A few Ar.68 remained operational as night fighters during the first months of World War II and were the Luftwaffe's last operational biplane fighters.
Engine: 1 X Jumo 210ea, 505kw
Take-off weight: 2020 kg / 4453 lb
Empty weight: 420 kg / 926 lb
Wingspan: 11.0/8.0 m / 36 ft 1 in / 26 ft 3 in
Length: 9.5 m / 31 ft 2 in
Height: 3.3 m / 11 ft 10 in
Wing area: 27.3 sq.m / 293.85 sq ft
Max. speed: 335 km/h / 208 mph
Cruise speed: 280 km/h / 174 mph
Ceiling: 8100 m / 26600 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 500 km / 311 miles
Armament: 2 machine-guns, 60kg of bombs
Arado Ar 68G
Engine: 1 x BMW VI V-type, 750hp.
Wingspan: 36.09ft (11.00m)
Length: 31.17ft (9.5m)
Height: 10.76ft (3.28m)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 5,456lbs (2,475kg)
Maximum Speed: 190mph (305kmh; 165kts)
Maximum Range: 258miles (415km)
Service Ceiling: 26,575ft (8,100m)
Armament: 2 x 7.92mm MG 17 forward-firing fixed machine guns.