Focke-Wulf Fw 57

The Focke-Wulf Fw 57 was a twin-engined heavy fighter that never developed beyond the prototype stage, although it did make its maiden flight in 1936. The Fw 57 was designed in response to an RLM requirement issued in the late autumn of 1934 for a twin-engined heavy fighter, or 'Kampfzerstöser' or 'battle destroyer'. This was to be an all metal monoplane with retractable undercarriage, faster than existing single engined fighters and with the range to escort German bombers.

Focke-Wulf responded with the Fw 57, designed by Dipl-Ing Wilhelm Bansemir. This was an all-metal (Focke-Wulf's first all-metal aircraft) cantilevered low-wing monoplane, designed to be powered by two DB 600 engines, but when it first flew used the lower-powered Jumo 210. The aircraft had a partly glazed nose, a long canopy covering the pilot's position, and a turret mounted at the back of the canopy.

In December 1934 the RLM awarded Focke-Wulf, Henschel and Messerschmitt development contracts, for the Fw 57, Hs 124 and Bf 110 respectively. The Focke-Wulf design was the largest of the three, and would turn out to be much heavier than expected - the wing alone was five times heavier than first calculated. All three prototypes were completed during 1936, with the turrets installed but no guns. The first prototype made its maiden flight in May 1936, and was a great disappointment. Its flying characteristics were poor, and a few weeks after its maiden flight it was written off after an emergency landing. Tests continued using the second and third prototypes (the third using the DB 600 engine), but later in 1936 the two aircraft were decreed unusable and work on the project was cancelled.

Engine: two DB 600 engines (third prototype at least)
Crew: Three
Wing span: 82ft 0
Length: 42ft 9in
Height: 13ft 5.5in
Empty Weight: 14,991lb
Loaded Weight without guns: 18,298lb
Max Speed: 227mph at sea level, 251mph at 9,840ft
Service Ceiling: 29,855ft
Range: 963 miles
Armament: Four fixed 20mm cannon nose and two 20mm cannon in dorsal turret

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 September 2010), Focke-Wulf Fw 57 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_focke-wulf_Fw_57.html

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