Fieseler Fi 167

The Fieseler Fi 167 was a ship-born two-seat torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft designed to serve on the German aircraft carrier Graf Spee. Although the Fi 167 was a successful design it fell victim to the stop-start nature of work on the Graf Spee, and never progressed beyond the pre-production series.

Work on the carrier began late in 1936, and at the same time the RLM issued a series of specifications for carrier aircraft. The Fi 167 and Arado Ar 195 were both designed in response to a specification for a multi-purpose attack aircraft, capable of carrying a torpedo or bombs or as acting as a reconnaissance aircraft.

Fieseler Fi 167 in RAF Identification Guide
Fieseler Fi 167 in
RAF Identification Guide
The Fi 167 was designed by Reinhold Mewes, and included a number of features designed to give it a very impression short take-off and landing (STOL) capability, starting with its biplane configuration. Both main wings had full-span automatic slots on their leading edge, while the lower wing had large trailing-edge flaps. Each of these features increased available lift at low speed and combined to produce an aircraft that could almost descend vertically, and that had better STOL capabilities than the famous Fi 156 Storch. The Fi 167 also had a robust fixed undercarriage designed to withstand the stress of carrier operations, but that could also be jettisoned if the aircraft was forced to ditch.

The Fi 167 easily out-performed the Arado Ar 195, and the two prototypes were followed by twelve pre-production Fi 167 A-0s. Unfortunately for Fieseler work on the Graf Spee was suspended early in 1940, while the pre-production aircraft were not completed until the summer of that year. They were then issued to Erprobungsstaffel 167, a special unit formed to carry out the service evaluation of the aircraft. This unit operated the Fi 167 on coastal patrols over the Dutch coast into 1943.

Work on the Graf Spee resumed in 1942, but by then the Fi 167 was seen as an outdated design, and work switched to a naval version of the Ju 87. The Fi 167s were withdrawn from frontline service in 1943. Three were retained for undercarriage trials, while the remaining aircraft were sold to Rumania.

Fi 167A-0
Engine: Daimler-Benz DB 601B
Power: 1,100hp
Crew: 2 (pilot and observer/ gunner)
Wing span: 44ft 4in
Length: 37ft 5in
Height: 15ft 9in
Empty Weight: 6,173lb
Maximum Weight: 10,690lb
Max Speed: 199mph at sea level
Cruising Speed: 155mph
Climb rate: 2.7 minutes to 3,280ft
Service Ceiling: 24,600ft
Range: 807 miles
Armament: One fixed forward firing 7.9mm MG 17 machine gun, one flexibly mounted rear firing 7.9mm MG 15
Bomb-load: 2,205lb or one 1,686lb torpedo

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 April 2010), Fieseler Fi 167 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_fieseler_fi_167.html

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