Arado Flugzeugwerke GmbH (Germany)
Arado Flugzeugwerke was
originally established as the Warnemünde factory of the Flugzeugbau
Friedrichshafen firm. With its parent company, it ceased operations
following the First World War when restrictions on German aviation were
created by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1921, the factory was purchased by
Heinrich Lübbe, and in 1924 re-commenced aircraft construction for export,
opening a subsidiary, Ikarus, in Yugoslavia. Walter Rethel, previously of
Kondor and Fokker was appointed head designer.
In 1925, Lübbe re-named the company Arado Handelsgesellschaft ("Arado
trading firm") but in 1933 when the new Nazi government re-established
aviation in Germany, changed this to the more specific (and accurate)
Arado Flugzeugwerke GmBH. Just prior to this, Walter Blume, formerly of
Albatros replaced Rethel.
Arado achieved early prominence as a supplier to the Luftwaffe with the
Arado Ar 66, which became one of the standard Luftwaffe trainers right
into World War II. The firm also produced some of the Luftwaffe's first
fighter aircraft, the Ar 65 and Ar 68. In 1936, the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium
- "Reich Aviation Ministry") insisted that, as a show of loyalty, Lübbe
should join the Nazi party. When he refused, the Arado company was
nationalised and placed under the direction of Erich Serno and Felix
As Germany entered World War II, two more Arado products rose to
prominence, the Ar 96 which became the Luftwaffe's most used trainer, and
the Ar 196 a reconnaissance seaplane that became standard equipment on all
larger German warships. Unfortunately for Arado, most of their other
designs were passed over in favour of stronger products from their
competitors. Perhaps Arado's most celebrated aircraft of the war was the
Ar 234, the first jet-powered bomber. Too late to have any real effect on
the outcome of the conflict, it was nevertheless a sign of things to come.
In 1945, the company was
liquidated and broken up.
The Ar 96 continued to be produced by Zlin for many years after the war as