Engine: Bristol Mercury VIII (9-cylinder radial, 830 hp)
Length: 8.22 m
Wing Span: 11 m.
Max Speed: 480 km/hr
Range: 950 km
Maximum Ceiling: 11,000 m
Designed by E.Schatzki in 1935 specifically to meet the needs of the Netherlands East Indies Army Air Service, the
Fokker D.21 caught the attention of a number of European nations in the late 1930s. Eventually they were flown not only
by the Dutch (ironically, not in the East Indies) but also the Finns and Danes.
The Latvian military were interested in replacing their Gloster Gladiators with Fokker D.21s. Specifically, they
wished to purchase five aircraft, and negotiate for a license to build additional aircraft in Latvia. Such arrangements
already existed between Fokker and the Finnish military and the Danish Air Force as well.
In 1938 a delegation from Latvia visited the Fokker factory in the Netherlands to witness a demonstration of the D.21 and
to prepare a report regarding the acquisition of these airplanes. The delegation consisted of A.Drulle, R.Kandis,
V.Dzenitis, G.Novickis and others.
Ultimately, the Latvian military did not pursue the arrangement. The Latvians would have difficulty paying for
the aircraft in hard currency, and VEF were proposing developing their own line of combat aircraft which could be
built in Latvia. VEF Director Vitols and Aviation Designer Irbitis had considerable influence with the Latvian military, and
ultimately the foreign contract was never made. It should also be noted the Irbitis had a strong dislike for radial-engined
aircraft, believing that their air resistance made them inefficient.
- Bruvelis, Edvins Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture
- Further information and photo courtesy of F.Gerdessen