It was the last glider to be designed by Rudolf Kaiser. It is an early solo sailplane with docile handling, and it was a successor to the Schleicher Ka 8 and ASK 18. It is also the single-seater counterpart of the two-seater Schleicher ASK 21 with a similar cockpit layout. It uses glass-fibre reinforced plastic and 'honeycomb' as its main construction materials. It has no flaps. It has a nose wheel, a fixed main-wheel and a tail-skid or optional tail wheel.
It first flew in October 1983. The first version allowed a very heavy pilot to fly, with a maximum cockpit weight of originally 140kg. This was reduced to 120 kg in the later 'B' version. 51 planes of the original version were built and 102 of the 'B' version. 50% of all ASK23s are in Japan.