With a total production run of more than 11,500 aircraft by the cessation of hostilities, the Arado Ar 96 was the Luftwaffe's standard advanced trainer, designed by Walter Blume and first flown in 1938. Of all-metal light alloy construction, the prototype was powered by a240-hp (179-kW) Argus As 10C engine and was fitted with main landing gear which retracted outwards into the wing. In order to widen the track, to make the aircraft easier for student pilots to handle, the legs were repositioned to retract inwards.
Reichsluftfahrtministerium trials were completed successfully and an initial production batch of Ar 96A aircraft was manufactured in 1939, leading to large- scale orders in 1940 for the more powerful Ar 96B which was to become the major production version, with a lengthened fuselage to provide greater fuel capacity for the more powerful engine. It was built in variants that included the unarmed Ar 96B-1 and the Ar 96B-2 which carried either a 7.92-mm (0.31-in) MG 17 machine-gun or a camera gun for gunnery training. An Ar 96C bomb-aiming trainer with a transparent panel in the cockpit floor was evaluated but did not enter production.
Manufacture of the Ar 96B was transferred to the Junkers subsidiary Ago Flugzeugwerke at Oschersleben/Bode and then, in mid-1941, to the Czech company Avia, which was joined in the programme by the Prague-based Letov organisation in 1944. Czech production continued until 1948, supplying aircraft to the Czech air force under the designation Avia C.2B.
The Luftwaffe used the Ar 96 for advanced, night and instrument flying training duties with the pilot training schools, fighter training wings, fighter training and replacement units and the officer cadet schools.
Two-seat advanced trainer aircraft. Initial production version.
Improved version. Main production version.
Czech production version of the Ar 96B. Czech designation C.2B. 228 built by Avia and 182 by Letov between 1945 and 1950.
Unarmed pilot trainer version.
Single-seat gunnery trainer version.
Unarmed instrument trainer version.
French production version of Ar 396, 28 produced.
Modified version of S.10,powered by Renault 12S (French built Argus As 411), 50 built for the French Air Force.
All metal version of S.11, 52 built for the French Air Force.
Modified version of S.12, 58 built for the French Air Force.
Specifications (Arado Ar 96B-2)
* Crew: 2
* Length: 9.10 m (29 ft 10¼ in)
* Wingspan: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
* Height: 2.60 m (8 ft 6¼ in)
* Wing area: 17.10 m² (184.07 ft²)
* Empty weight: 1,295 kg (2,854 lb)
* Max takeoff weight: 1,700 kg (3,748 lb)
* Powerplant: 1× Argus As 410A-1 12-cylinder inverted-Vee piston engine, 347 kW (465 hp)
* Maximum speed: 330 km/h (205 mph)
* Cruise speed: 295 km/h (183 mph)
* Range: 990 km (615 mi)
* Service ceiling: 7,100 m (23,295 ft)
* 1 × 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 17 machine gun