Focke-Wulf Fw 189

The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu (Eagle Owl) was a twin-engine twin-boom three seat tactical reconnaissance and army cooperation aircraft. It first flew in 1938 (Fw 189V1), entered service in 1940, and was produced until mid-1944. It performed superbly as a reconnaissance aircraft and was both rugged and manoeuvrable.

Design and development

In 1937, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium issued a specification for a single-engined reconnaissance aircraft with optimum visual characteristics. The preferred contractors were to be Arado, but the request prompted the Focke-Wulf company to work up the alternative idea of the Focke-Wulf Fw 189, a twin-boom design with two small French made Argus 410 engines and a central crew gondola, while Blohm + Voss proposed something far more radical. The proposal of chief designer Dr Richard Vogt was the unique asymmetric Bv 141.
Most likely the best reconnaissance aircraft to operate during WWII, the Fw 189 was produced in large numbers, mostly at the Bordeaux-Merignac aircraft factory (now the Dassault Mirage plant) in occupied France.
Total production was 846 aircraft of all variants.

Operational history

Called the \"Flying Eye\" of the German army, the Fw 189 was used extensively on the Russian Front where it succeeded beyond the most optimistic predictions. Despite its fragile looks, the Fw 189's superb handling and agility made it a very difficult and elusive target for attacking Russian fighters. When attacked, the Fw 189 was often able to out turn attacking fighters by simply flying in a tight circle that enemy fighters could not follow. Its phenomenal toughness was demonstrated when Fw 189s routinely returned to bases with one tail shot or torn off.

General characteristics (Focke Wulf Fw 189)

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 18.4 m (60 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 3.7 m (12 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 38 m² (409 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,680 kg (5,920 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,950 kg (8,708 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Argus 410 , 350 kW (465 hp) each

Performance (Focke Wulf Fw 189)

  • Maximum speed: 357 km/h at 2,600 m (222 mph at 8,530 ft)
  • Range: 670 km (416 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 8,400 m (27,550 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 8.3 m/s (1,640 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 103.9 kg/m² (21.3 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 0.177 kW/kg (0.107 hp/lb)

Armament (Focke Wulf Fw 189)

  • 4 x 7.92mm machine guns
  • 4 x 50 kg (110 lb) bombs