Heinkel He.112V5 single-engine front-line fighter, issued 1936.
A single-seat all-metal monoplane fighter with an enclosed cockpit and a retractable landing gear system including tail wheel. This aircraft was designed in the Heinkel Flugzeugwerke design bureau by the brothers Walter and Siegfried Günter.
The aircraft was built for a single-seat fighter monoplane competition announced by Hermann Goering in May 1934. The He.112’s main competitor in this competition was another famous German aircraft designer’s creation: the Messerschmitt Bf.109V.
The first prototype He.112V1 fighter made its first flight on September 1, 1935. The experts of the Reich’s Ministry of Aviation were unable to select just one prototype, so Messerschmitt and Heinkel were given orders for 15 pre-production machines, to be deployed for military trials. Based on the test results, the Bf.109 fighter was adopted by the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1936.
It was decided that the He.112 would be kept as a backup in case, for some reason, production of the Bf.109 had to be stopped. Construction of the 15 pre-production vehicles continued. The designers continued their work, making changes and improvements here and there in the plane’s construction.
The next prototype He.112V5 was equipped with an inline 12-cylinder liquid-cooled Junkers Jumo.210D engine with a takeoff power of 680 hp and a two-bladed metal Junkers-Hamilton variable-pitch propeller. The aircraft was armed with two synchronous 7.92-mm Rheinmetall-Borsig MG.17 machine guns with 500 rounds per gun, which were installed on the sides of the forward fuselage.
The aeroplane’s wing shape was significantly modified. It now had a sharp bend in its leading edge and rounded tips.
The company’s head, Ernst Heinkel, decided to show the prototype He.112V5 to the international market. In the spring of 1937, the aircraft was shown to a Japanese naval delegation, sent to Germany to learn about prospective future developments in aviation technology. The Japanese showed interest in the aircraft and decided to obtain a prototype for more detailed study and testing. In March 1937, an He.112V5 was sent to Japan by sea.
In the Land of the Rising Sun, the fighter was delivered to the Technical Commission of the Imperial Navy and designated the A7He1. Together with two other pre-production aircraft, the He.112A-05 (Wr.N.1959) and the He.112A-06 (Wr.N.1960) - also acquired by the Japanese Navy - the He.112V5 underwent tests to compare it to the carrier-based Mitsubishi A5M4 fighter. Japanese experts appreciated certain features of the design, such as the in-line engine and innovations like the retractable landing gear, but they decided not to order a large batch of planes. Primarily, the military did not like the fighter’s relatively poor armament.