Designed as 'air cruiser', the Fokker G.I was a twin-boom, twin-engined fighter aircraft. With its heavy armament and clean lines, the G.I was the best aircraft the Dutch air force had in May 1940. Two versions were built: The G.I originally produced in series for Spain, and a larger three-seat version for the Dutch airforce. In the end both types were used exclusively by the Dutch LVA. The small number of operational G.Is did well in the very brief fighting of May 1940. Surviving G.I's were later used by the Luftwaffe. 62 built.
Type: Fokker G.I
Country: The Netherlands ("Holland")
Engines: 2 * 825 hp P&W R-1535-SB4-G
Wing Span: 16.50 m
Length: 10.38 m
Height: 3.35 m
Wing Area: 35.70 m2
Empty Weight: 3150 kg
Max.Weight: 4800 kg
Speed: 443 km/h
Range: 1400 km
Armament: (4*mg 7.9 mm)
Engines: 2 * 830hp Bristol Mercury VIII
Wing Span: 17.15 m
Length: 11.50 m
Height: 3.40 m
Wing Area: 38.30 m
Empty Weight: 3360 kg
Max.Weight: 4800 kg
Speed: 475 km/h
Ceiling: 9300 m
Range: 1520 km
Armament: 9*mg 7.9mm 400 kg
The Fokker G.I was a heavy twin-engined fighter plane comparable in size and role to the German Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the British Mosquito.
The G.I was designed in 1936 by Fokker head engineers Beeling and Schatzki; the design and building the prototype took just 7 months. At its introduction at the Paris Air Show of 1936, even before its first flight, the G.I was a sensation due to its heavy armament of 8 machine guns in the nose and 1 in a rear turret; it was given the nickname Reaper by the French and English. Its twin-engine, twin-boom design was later used for the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
The G.I was intended for the role of air cruiser, i.e. patrolling the air space and denying it to enemy planes, especially bombers; a role seen as important at the time, by the followers of Giulio Douhet's theories on air power. The Fokker G.I could also be used for ground attack and light bombing missions (it could carry a bomb load of 400 kg). It was intended for a crew of three (a pilot, a bombardier and a rear gunner), but all Dutch G.Is had the bombardier's seat removed, since they were not used in their ground attack role.
Like all Fokker aircraft of the period (and many aircraft by other constructors as well), the G.I was of mixed construction; the front of the central pod and the tail booms were built around a welded frame, covered with aluminium plating. The back of the central pod, however, as well as the wings, had a wooden frame, covered with triplex, a technique also used in Fokker's successful passenger aircraft at that time.
The G.I had its first flight at Welschap, Eindhoven on March 16, 1937. It went well, but subsequent test flights uncovered some problems with the design. Firstly, its Hispano-Suiza engines used too much oil. They were replaced by Pratt & Whitney R-1535 engines that were less powerful, but much more reliable. Furthermore, the eight machine guns in the nose made the plane difficult to manage at take-off and landing. This problem was never solved satisfactorily.
Besides the Dutch air force, several foreign air forces showed an interest in the G.I. The aircraft was originally built to a French Air Force specification, but the French preferred French-built aircraft such as the Dewoitine D.520. The Spanish air force ordered 36 aircraft; after the mobilisation of 1939, these were taken over by the Dutch air force. The Dutch had difficulties finding armament for these aircraft, and in 1940, only four of them were combat-ready. The Danish ordered 12 G.Is for use as dive bombers. These were delivered, but subsequently captured by the Germans during Operation Weserübung before they could be assembled. Other interested countries were Sweden (17 ordered), Estonia (6 ordered), Belgium, Turkey, Hungary and Switzerland. Due to the German attack on the Netherlands, no aircraft were delivered to these countries