top of page
  • Writer's pictureroy blewett

Junkers Ju52, AAC-1 and CASA 352

AAC-1 Toucan No.363 is seen here on 29Aug21, the day of its return to the Deutsches Museum from temporary storage at Oberschleissheim (Deutsches Museum).

The familiar three-engined ‘Tante Ju’ provided the backbone of the Deutsche Luftwaffe during World War II operating as a freight, passenger and paratroop transport, as a minesweeper and in various utility roles. It was, however, conceived ten years earlier by Hugo Junkers as a single-engine commercial airliner. Early flight tests showed that more power was needed and led to the development of the definitive, tri-motor version, designated Ju52/3m (for drei motoren). Although Junkers was aware of the potential military uses for the Ju52, a military version did not appear until the National Socialists rose to power in Germany in 1932 and the company was nationalized. An order for 1,200 Ju52s was placed, the intention being that they would provide an interim bomber capability until a dedicated aircraft came on stream. 20 were sent to Spain for use alongside Franco’s forces, but this only proved the type was not suited to the bomber role and all remaining Ju52s were completed as transports or for use in other support tasks. Post-war production lines were set up in France and Spain as part of efforts to rebuild Europe’s aviation industry, and a good number of Ju52 survivors are in fact Spanish-built examples, the type only being withdrawn from military use there in 1975. Survivor numbers have held steady over the last 20 years although the loss of HB-HOT in 2018 resulted in the grounding of four Ju52s, three Swiss and one German. Ju-Air hopes to return one of its Ju52s to service in 2023, after its re-engining with Pratt & Whitney R-1840 Wasps and modernisation by Junkers Flugzeugwerke is complete.

First flight: 3 Sep 30 (c/n 4001, D-1974)

Production: estimated at 5,415, with production lines in Germany (at Dessau, Bernberg, Leipzig, Bremen-Einswerden), France (at Colombes), Hungary and Spain.

First delivery: May 32 to Lloyd Aero Boliviano (c/n 4008, CB-17)

Last delivery: 1952, to Spanish Air Force

Principal variants: Ju52/1m - retrospective designation applied to initial single-engined version with accommodation for up to 17 passengers (6 built at Dessau, each powered by a different type of engine);

Ju52/3m - main production version, powered initially by Pratt & Whitney Hornet radials or their licence-built equivalent the BMW 132, with sub-types identified by additional letters signifying engine and configuration (production unknown); the main versions were:

Ju52/3mce - commercial version for A.B. Aerotransport, Aero OY and Deutsche Lufthansa;

Ju52/3mde - commercial version for Lloyd Aero Bolivano, delivered as a seaplane;

Ju52/3mge - commercial version, powered by BMW 132A-1s;

Ju52/3mg3e - initial military version, with increased fuel capacity and provision for bombs, powered by BMW 132A-2s;

Ju52/3mg4e - optimised military transport version, with increased weights and tail-wheel in place of a skid, powered by BMW 132A-3s;

Ju52/3mg5e - Ju52/3mg4e powered by BMW 132Ts, with improved radio fit, de-icing system and provision of interchangeable wheeled, ski and float undercarriage;

Ju52/3mg6e - simplified land-plane version of Ju52/3mg4e;

Ju52/3mg7e - optimised paratroop version with wider cabin doors, accommodation for 18 troops, and automatic pilot;

Ju52/3mg8e - Ju52/3mg5e optimised for use on the Eastern Front with some features deleted, but with additional loading hatch in cabin roof;

Ju52/3mg9e - Ju52/3mg5e optimised for use as a glider tug, powered by BMW 132Z and with strengthened landing gear and increased take-off weight;

Ju52/3mg10e - Ju52/3mg9e with provision for skis or floats;

Ju52/3mg11e - Ju52/3mg9e with de-icing equipment

Ju52/3mg12e - Ju52/3mg9e powered by de-rated BMW 132Ls;

Ju52/3mg14e - final Junkers-produced version with improved armour;

AAC 1 Toucan - designation applied to Ju52/3mg10e produced by Ateliers Aéronautiques de Colombes after World War II (415 built);

352 - designation applied to Ju52/3m produced by CASA after World War II, powered by BMW 132A (106 built);

352L - designation applied to 352 powered by Spanish-built ENMASA Beta engines (64 built; most 352s were converted to 352L).

Junkers Ju52 survivors
Download PDF • 204KB

185 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page