In 1916 Germany introduced the J-class of close support or ground-combat engagement aircraft. After the first units performed well in the battle of Verdun , the development of ground support aircraft received the highest priority. AEG designed the J.I to meet the need for armoured aircraft to directly engage entrenched infantry units with concentrated machine gun fire and bombardment.
The AEG J.I was a biplane ground attack aircraft of 1917, an armoured and more powerful version of the AEG C.IV reconnaissance aircraft. AEG J.I featured armour protection for the pilot and for the more powerful engine that was fitted to the heavier aircraft.
Two forward firing 0.312 in (7.92 mm) LMG 08/15 machine guns were fitted to the floor of the observer’s cockpit pointing downward at a 45° angle for engaging ground targets. One 0.312 in (7.92 mm) Parabellum MG14 machine gun was provided in the typical rear-facing defensive position.
REPORT ON THE A.E.G. ARMOURED AEROPLANE: July 1918 Reports on German Aircraft 4
Detailed report on machine brought down by an R.E. 8 of 21st Squadron, near Hinges on May 16, 1918.The plane was stamped with the date February 3,1918 and the report concludes that the Aeroplane was designed for the purpose of carrying out offensive patrols against infantry.