POWER PLANT: One Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet, rated at 1,200 kp thrust
COMMENT: The Blohm & Voss Ae 607 was a turbojet-powered flying wing design drawn up by Blohm & Voss in 1945. Very little is known about it and its existence was only confirmed end of the last century.
Early in 1945, a Blohm & Voss aircraft designer called Thieme began work on Drawing Number Ae 607 within the standard drawing numbering system at B&V and labelled it „Nurflügel-TL-Jäger“ („All-wing jet fighter“). His design for a jet fighter was radically different from anything that B&V had done before: A flying wing, it approximated to a 45° delta planform.
An all-wing design, the centre section has a V-shaped lower profile deepening its keel and is sharply tapered both front and rear, while the outer sections are sharply swept at approximately 45° and tapered, giving the leading edge a sweep greater than 45° and the trailing edge an M-shaped outline from above. The wing tips are turned down, giving them a slight anhedral.
A turbojet engine duct runs down the centre, with the Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 engine installed towards the rear. A small tail fin is placed above the jet exhaust duct, while the pilot’s cockpit is set just in front of the engine, but still well aft, and is offset to one side to give the pilot room alongside the intake duct. It is covered by a teardrop canopy. Two small, low aspect ratio and untapered canard foreplanes sweep forward from either side of the nose intake.
The undercarriage comprises main wheels retracting outwards and twin tailwheels retracting on either side of the engine exhaust duct. On the ground, it sits with a marked nose-up attitude presumably to keep the air intake well away from any surface debris while take-off. Estimated performance as well as it’s conceptual formulation is unknown. The Blohm & Voss Ae 607 „Nurflügel-TL-Jäger“ never received a „P“ number (Project number) and was probably only intended to showcase ideas for solving particular problems facing designers when designing on a layout for fighters. The authenticity of the „Nurflügel-TL-Jäger“ has been questioned for years but, oddly enough, it has proven to be an entirely genuine wartime design (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Allison V-1710-49/53 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,225 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 390 mph at 25,000 ft
COMMENT: The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was an American piston-engined fighter aircraft of WW II. Developed for the United States Army Ai Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Allied propaganda claimed it had been nicknamed the fork-tailed devil („Gabelschwanz-Teufel“) by the Luftwaffe and “two planes, one pilot” by the Japanese. Along with its use as a general fighter, the P-38 was utilized in various aerial combat roles including as a highly effective fighter-bomber, a night-fighter, and as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks. The P-38 was also used as a bomber-pathfinder, guiding streams of medium and heavy bomber; or even other P-38s, equipped with bombs, to their targets. Used in the aerial reconnaissance role, the P-38 would account for 90 percent of the aerial film captured over Europe.
The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) and was the primary long-range fighter of Unites States Army Air Forces until the introduction of large numbers of North American P-51D „Mustang“ toward the end of the war.
Lockheed designed the Model 22 in response to a February 1937 specification from the United States Arma Air Corps (USAAC). Circular Proposal X-608 was a set of aircraft performance goals for a twin-engine, high-altitude aircraft having the tactical mission of interception and attack of hostile aircraft at high altitude. The Lockheed design team chose twin booms to accommodate the tail assembly, twin engines, and turbo-superchargers, with a central nacelle for the pilot and armament.
The Lockheed design incorporated tricycle undercarriage and a bubble canopy, and featured two 1,000 hp turbosupercharged 12-cylinder Allison V-1710 engines fitted with counter rotating propellers to eliminate the effect of engine torque, with the turbochargers positioned behind the engines, the exhaust side of the units exposed along the dorsal surfaces of the booms. The aircraft was the first American fighter to make extensive use of stainless steel and smooth, flush-riveted butt-jointed aluminum skin panels It was also the first military airplane to fly faster than 400 mph in level flight.
Lockheed won the competition on June 1937 with its Model 22 and was contracted to build a prototype officially designated XP-38. Construction began in July 1938, and the XP-38 first flew on 27 January 1939. After speed testing the Air Corps ordered 13 YP-38s on April 1939, these few “hand made” YP-38’s were used as trainers and test aircraft.
Delivered and accepted production variants began with the P-38D model but the first combat-capable Lightning, as the aircraft was officially named by the USAAC by adopting the British service name, was the P-38E and its photo-reconnaissance variant the F-4
The first P-38E rolled out of the factory in October 1941. Because of the versatility, redundant engines, and especially high speed and high altitude characteristics of the aircraft, as with later variants over a hundred P-38Es were completed in the factory or converted in the field to a photoreconnaissance variant, the F-4, in which the guns were replaced by four cameras. Most of these early reconnaissance Lightnings were retained stateside for training, but the F-4 was the first Lightning to be used in action in April 1942.
After 210 P-38Es were built, they were followed, starting in February 1942, by the P-38F, the first truly operational Lightning. It incorporated racks inboard of the engines for fuel tanks or a total of 910 kg of bombs. 527 machines of this subtype were buit, including several variants. Lightnings of this type took part in their first large-scale operations during the North-African campaign, in November 1942, where mixed success was encountered. The twin engines restricted manoeuverability to some extent and it was unique among fightersof WW II in employing a wheel control instead of a conventional stick, a feature which may also have resulted in reduced ease of manoeuvre. Nevertheless, it proved an effective bomber destoyer and had a sensational zoom climb that could rarely be matched.
The Lockheed P-38F Lightning had also entered service in the Pacific area. Technical difficulties associated with intercooler operations in tropical conditions prevented the Lightning from entering service until the end of 1942, however, the first major engagement with Japanese aircraft occuring on December, when the 39th Fighter Squadron claimed 15 destroyed without loss (the model shown here is a P-38F of the 39th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group).
During production a continous series of improvements were being developed by Lockheed, some of which remained experimental but others being adopted for production. Among the most important in the latter category were long-range drop tanks and manoeuvring flaps. In early 1942, all P-38 carried the same long-range 75-US gal drop tanks as the Bell P-39 Aircobra and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, one each side between the fuselage and nacelles. But Lockheed soon developed its own 150-US gal tank, and eventually 300-US gal versions, of laminar flow design. Stressing the wing section two such tanks could be carried by all variants from the P-38F onwards. To demonstrate the capability oft he Lightning with drop tanks, a P-38F was used late in 1942, to make an endurance flight lasting over 13 hrs and covering 4.677 km, with enough fuel remaining for more than 161 km. Thus, Lightning’s ability to fly long ranges, carrying two drop tanks, now proved especially useful and the P-38 became the most-preferred fighter type operating in the Pacific area.
After production of 2,410 P-38F, -G and –H and corresponding reconnaissance variants the production switched over to the most built P-38J and –L Lightnings (Ref.: 3, 9, 24).
POWER PLANT: One Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1,200 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: 480 mph at 32,800 ft
COMMENT: The Heinkel He P.1078 was a single-seat interceptor developed for the Luftwaffe by Heinkel aircraft manufacturing company under the „Jägernotprogramm“ (Emergency Fighter Programm) during the closing stage of the Third Reich.
Germany’s Emergency Fighter Program was enacted in the middle of July in 1944 in response to the Allied bombing offensive taking out critical German war-making capabilities. The new aircraft was intended to have superior performance in order to deal with the expected high altitude threats such as the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, but only had a 30-minute endurance figure.
The high-altitude fighter designs brought forward by other German aircraft makers were the Messerschmitt Me P.1101, Focke-Wulf Ta 183 „Huckebein“,Blohm & Voss Bv P.212, and Junkers EF 128.
The Heinkel Company was a competitor, too, and offered ist He P.1078 project in three quite different variants. All of them were a single-seat fighters with polyhedral swept wings. The wings were swept back at 40 degrees and included wood in their construction. All of the projected aircraft had the wing tips angled downwards and all of them would be powered by a single Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet.
The Heinkel He P.1078A was a turbojet-powered interceptor. It was the most conventional-looking of the three designs submitted for it was the only one having a tail. Its armament was two MK 108 cannons, as in the following two variants.
The Heinkel He P.1078B was a tailles asymmetric jet-powered interceptor with a short fuselage in which the air intake of the engine was located in the middle between two gondolas. The cockpit was located on the gondola of the left side, while the right side gondola contained the front undercarriage leg and cannon armament.
Finally the Heinkel He P.1078C was a tailless interceptor project similar to the He P.1078B but with a single short fuselage. Both the He P.1078B and He P.1078C had wing tips angled downwards at a more pronounced angle than the He P.1078A.
To keep production costs down and expedite mass production, the Heinkel He P.1078C design was relatively simple in nature, utilizing wood wherever possible. The metal fuselage sported a length no longer than 17 feet and contained the armored cockpit, armament and relatively large single engine fitting, fuel was to be housed in the wings. Wingspan was just under 30 feet and the design as a whole just topped 7 feet, 8 inches in height. The armament would have consisted of two MK 108 cannons fitted to either side of the nose section. The nose section itself was rather short and acted as the air intake to aspirate the turbojet engine buried further aft in the design. The opening was rectangular in nature and conformed well to the fuselage’s square appearance when viewed in the forward profile. The engine exhausted at the rear through a conventional exhaust ring. The cockpit was held well-forward in the design with the pilot seated under a small canopy allowing for limited viewing ahead and to the sides (the rear was obstructed by way of a short fuselage spine). The undercarriage was fully retractable and would have consisted of three landing gear legs: two main legs at amidships and a nose landing gear leg – all were single-wheeled installations. When at rest, this arrangement would have given the He P.0178C a distinct “nose-up” appearance, in effect perhaps promoting quicker take-offs with the increased wing drag at speed. Since the turbojet-powered fighter would have been operating at high altitudes, the cockpit was to be fully pressurized and equipped withan ejection seat.
Perhaps the most identifiable portion of the He P.1078Cs design was its wings. The assemblies were fitted high against the fuselage sides and extensively swept rearwards. Each wing was cranked upwards from fuselage centerline up to roughly three-quarters out and then capped with a short wing piece cranked sharply downwards. The reason for this design was largely related to aerodynamic principles that were still being researched at the time and the result was to have combated stress effects on the wings at high speeds. Ernst Heinkel was convinced of their ability to provide for increased maneuvering and agility during dogfights. It bears note that there were no horizontal tailplanes in the Heinkel design and the entire internal fuel load for the thirsty turbojet engine was to be stored across both of the wings. However, the wings were not armored which unduly would have exposed them to enemy fire even of the slightest degree.
After being subject to severe criticism, the project was cancelled by Heinkel at the end of February 1945 (Ref: 17, 22, 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Mitsubishi Ne 330 axial-flow turbojet engines, rated at 1,320 kp each
PERFORMANCE: 495 mph (estimated)
COMMENT: In late 1944, Kugisho (a WW II acronym for Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho, First Naval Air Technical Arsenal. Kugisho was based at Yokosuka, hence the type is often incorrectly designated Yokosuka) approached the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and informed them that the R2Y1‘s airframe was readily adaptable to other roles, including that of a fast attack bomber. To heighten the interest, it was proposed that the Ha-70 10 engine be replaced with two Mitsubishi Ne330 axial flow turbojets, each of the engines being slung under the wings in nacelles. The fuselage space vacated by the Aichi engine would be replaced with fuel tanks. For weapons, the aircraft would carry one 1,800kg bomb and have a cannon armament in the nose. With the introduction of the Ne330 engines, the maximum speed was expected to be 495mph, superior to the projected 447 mph top speed of the Aichi engine model. With these advantages in mind, the IJN approved that work should begin on designing the R2Y2, the turbojet powered “Keiun” which was sometimes referred to as the “Keiun-Kai”, as well as permitting the R2Y1 to be completed as an airframe demonstrator to test the handling characteristics.
Even before the destruction of the first R2Y1, a second example was being constructed and design work for the R2Y2 was underway.
Contemporary sources show no less than four versions for how the R2Y2 may ultimately have appeared. The first version had the Ne330 engines in underwing nacelles. The second version showed the two engines buried within the fuselage with wing root air intakes and narrow jet nozzles. The third version removed the wing intakes and replaced them with a nose intake, but it retained the narrow nozzles. Finally, the fourth version was similar to the third except the engine nozzles were larger.
The first design is considered by most to be the initial R2Y2 concept while the other three are subject to debate. In part, this is due to the fact that the Japanese had very little time to explore various installations of turbojets in airframes. The easiest means to place turbojets on aircraft was by using nacelles and this was seen in the Nakajima “Kitsuka”, Nakajima Ki-201 “Karyu” and proposed Kugisho “Tenga” and Kawanishi K-200.
Even the Germans with their turbojet experience did not fully understand the effects of a long nose intake feeding a high performance jet buried in a combat fighter’s fuselage. Messerschmitt, when they began to study how to start the Messerschmitt Me P.1101 Vl second generation jet fighter, catalogued the obstacles that needed to be overcome. They included the effects of engine operation on the fuselage integrity, ensuring the nose intake was properly positioned and shaped for maximum airflow, making sure the intake tube was made as smooth as possible to minimize air restrictions, how to protect the rear of the aircraft from the heat generated by the exhaust thrust, the effects of reduced airflow on thrust due to flight angles and more. The Germanswere at least able to devote some time to investigating these problems and providing promising solutions to them.
This was time however, that the Japanese simply did not have. Up until the construction of the and the planned Focke-Wulf Ta 183, all of the War time jet designs flown by the Luftwaffe had nacelle mounted turbojets, e.g. Messerschmitt Me 262. The Japanese may not have been made fully privy to the latest German jet engine technology as it pertained to long intakes before the war ended.
It is within reason to suggest that the R2Y2 with the wing root intakes could have been under consideration since it would be a logical development, especially since such intake arrangements were not entirely new. The third and fourth designs may or may not have been post-war conjecture.
Unfortunately for Kugisho and the IJN, the R2Y2 would never be brought to full production. With the end of the war, the second R2Y1 prototype remained incomplete and the R2Y2 would forever remain a design board aircraft (Ref.: Dyer III, Edwin M.: Japanese Secret Projects, Experimental Aircraft of the IJA and IJN 1939-1945, Midland Publishing, Hersham, U.K., 2010).
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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