Arado Ar E381

Another novel idea during the Second World War was the proposed design of the Arado Ar E381 interceptor aircraft. The design of this WW2 German aircraft was that of a parasite-type plane that will be carried on the underside of the larger Ar 234 jet-powered bomber and then released once the desired altitude for attack has been reached.

The design of the Ar E381 is so small that the pilot has to fly and control the plane in a prone position. This position is necessary to make the plane as aerodynamic as possible. The pilot will not be requiring the use of a normal cockpit but will use an armored glass screen as his means of viewing the enemy bombers.

The Arado Aircraft Firm had conceptualized the Ar E381 to be a small, lightweight plane that will be attached to the Ar 234 bomber and be carried to altitudes of about 1000 meters. Once the altitude is reached and the coupled planes are above enemy bomber formations, the Ar E381 is released and will dive at speeds of up to 510 mph. During the dive, the pilot of this WW2 aircraft will then attack the closest enemy bomber aircraft using either the single 30mm cannon or six RZ65 OR 73 spin-stabilized air to air rockets which can be fired off the wing leading edges. The use of a Walter HWK 509B rocket motor can allow the Ar E381 to fly in for another attack on the bomber formation. After the attack, the Ar E381 will then have to glide home and land on a single skid attached along the bottom of the fuselage with the help of a deployed parachute.

Arado Ar E381

Since, the initial designs of the Arado Ar E381 were submitted in 1944, this WW2 German aircraft had undergone three engineering design revisions until the Ar E381 III was stated to be the best design which almost came to production. However, the Arado Ar E381 III became an unfinished concept since the German Air Ministry decided not to pursue the “parasite fighter” idea to the end.


Allied Codename: none
Type: single man “parasite” bomber interceptor
Design: Arado Aircraft Firm
Engine(s): 1 x Walter HWK 509B rocket motor
Max Speed: 895 km/h (556 mph; 483 knots)
Ceiling: Not available
Length: 18.70 feet
Wingspan: 16.57 feet
Height: 4.95 feet
Loaded Weight: 1,500 kg
Armaments: 1 x 30mm cannon
6 x RZ65 OR 73 spin-stabilized air-to-air rockets