POWER PLANT: One Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1.300 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me P.1106 was a proposed German fighter aircraft project near the end of WW II. It was intended as an improvement to the Messerschmitt Me P. 1101.
On December 15, 1944 Messerschmitt design team decided to submit another design alongside the Me P.1101 – the Messerschmitt Me P. 1106. This was an advanced update on the final version of the Me P.1092/5 which had been drafted in July 1943 but also bore some similarities to the Me P.1101.
The Messerschmitt Me P. 1106 was redesigned several times. It had a nose air intake and fuselage mounted turbojet-engine. The wings of each design were swept back at 40 degrees. The planned powerplant was a Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, and armament was to be two 30 mm MK 108 cannons
The first version (Me P. 1106/I) had a short fuselage and a T-tail with the cockpit faired into the vertical stabilizer, similar to the Lippisch Li P.13a.
The redesigned version shown here (Me P. 1106/II), had a very short fuselage, too, the vertical stabilizer was changed to a tail plane of butterfly style and the cockpit was housed far aft. This odd shape apparently gave the best aerodynamic performance Messerschmitt and his team had yet achieved but the disadvantage was a poor visibility for the pilot.
A third and final design (Me P. 1106/III) had a longer and slim fuselage with a V-tail plane and the cockpit moved slightly forward.
All projects of the Messerschmitt Me P. 1106 were abandoned since the performance of the Me P.1101 had not been improved on (Ref.: 17, 22, 24).
POWER PLANT: Two BMW 003 turbojet engines, rated at 850 kp each
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: The Blohm & Voss P 202 was an unusual design study for a variable-geometry turbojet fighter during World War II. It was the first design to incorporate a slewed wing (also known as an oblique or scissor wing) in which one side swept forward and the other back.
During WW II in Germany intensive work has been done in concern of influence back-swept wings on high-speed aircraft. Calculations as well as wind-tunnel tests showed that swept wings could minimize the effects of compressibility as the speed of sound was approached. But sweeping the wings causes problems of its own, especially at the low speeds used for takeoff and landing. A variable-sweep mechanism was one possible solution but it would be complex, heavy and expensive. It also has problems with movement of the centre of lift. Both backwards and forwards sweep were investigated and they proved to have opposite disadvantages. Sweeping one wing forwards and the other back would balance out the aerodynamic problems and a one-piece slewed wing approach would not need such a complex sweep mechanism.
In 1944, with their project Bv P.202 the design team of Blohm & Voss tried to compensate the disadvantage of swept-back wings a low speed by turning a single full-span wing in its yaw axis so that one side sweeps back and the other side sweeps forward. The shoulder mounted wing was shaped as a disc in the mid-wing section. During take-off and landing as well as at lower speed the wing was in rectangular position with all buoyancy forces such as airbrakes and spoilers still effective. At high speeds the whole wing was slewed at 35° that the left wing showed forward and the right wing backward. The wing span was 39.4 ft when unswept and 32.8 ft when fully swept. Because the fuselage was filled with wing-rotation machinery, the landing gear extended down from the wing main spar, and was very long, while the nose gear retracted backwards into the fuselage. The Blohm & Voss Bv P.202 was powered by a pair of BMW 003 turbojets, slung underneath the fuselage center section and exhausting behind the wing. Provision for three forward-firing cannon was made in the nose. Due to the war situation in Germany the project never left the drawing board (Ref.: 18, 24).
POWER PLANT: One Walter HWK 109-509C-3 dual-chamber liquid-propellant rocket engine,main chamber rated up to 2,000 kp thrust, auxiliary chamber 400 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: 590 mph
COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 263 „Scholle“ (Plaice) was a rocket-powered fighter aircraft developed from the Messerschmitt Me 163 „Komet“ (Comet) towards the end of WW II. Three prototypes were built but never flown under their own power as the rapidly deteriorating military situation in Germany prevented the completion of the test program.
Although the Messerschmitt Me 163 had very short endurance, it had originally been even shorter. In the original design, the engine had only one throttle setting, “full on”, and burned through its fuel in a few minutes. Not only did this further limit endurance, in flight testing, pilots found the aircraft quickly exhibited compressibility effects as soon as they levelled off from the climb and speeds picked up. This led the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) to demand the addition of a throttle, leading to lengthy delays and a dramatic decrease in fuel economy when throttled.
This problem was addressed in the slightly updated Messerschmitt Me 163C. This featured the same Walter HWK 109-509B or C dual chamber rocket engine already trialled on the Me 163B V6 and V18 prototypes; the main upper chamber („Hauptkammer“) was tuned for high thrust while the lower „Marschofen“ auxiliary combustion chamber was designed for a much lower thrust output (about 400 kgf maximum) for economic cruise. In operation, throttling was accomplished by starting or stopping the main engine, which was about four times as powerful as the smaller one. This change greatly simplified the engine, while also retaining much higher efficiency during cruise. Along with slightly increased fuel tankage, the powered endurance rose to about 12 minutes, a 50% improvement. As the aircraft spent only a short time climbing, this meant the time at combat altitude would be more than doubled.
Throughout development the RLM proved unhappy with the progress on the Me 263 project, and eventually decided to transfer development to Heinrich Hertel at Junkers company. Alexander Lippisch remained at Messerschmitt and retained the support of Waldemar Voigt, continuing development of the Me 163C.
At Junkers, the basic plan of the Me 163C was followed to produce an even larger design, the Junkers Ju 248. It retained the new pressurized cockpit and bubble canopy of the Me 163C, with even more fuel tankage, and adding a new retractable landing gear design. On September 1944 a wooden mock-up was shown to officials. The production version was intended to be powered by the more powerful BMW 109-708 rocket engine in place of the Walter power plant.
Prior to the actual building of the Ju 248, two Me 163Bs, prototype V13 and V18, were slated to be rebuilt. V13 had deteriorated due to weather exposure, so only V18 was rebuilt, but had been flown by test pilot Heini Dittmar at a record-setting 702 mph velocity on July , 1944 and suffered near-total destruction of its rudder surface as a result of high-speed induced compressibility. It is this aircraft that is often identified as the Me 163D, but this aircraft was built after the Ju 248 project had started.
Hertel had hoped to install Lorin ramjet engines, but this technology was still far ahead of its time. As a stopgap measure, they decided to build the aircraft with a „Sondergeräte“ (special equipment) in the form of a „Zusatztreibstoffbehälter“ (auxiliary fuel tank): two 160 l external T-Stoff oxidizer tanks were to be installed under the wings. This would lead to a 10% speed decrease but no negative flight characteristics. Although Junkers claimed the Ju 248 used a standard Me 163B wing, they decided to modify the wing to hold more C-Stoff fuel. This modification was carried out by the Puklitsch firm.
In November 1944, the aircraft was again redesignated as the Messerschmitt Me 263 to show its connection with the Me 163. The two projects also got names – the Ju 248 „Flunder“ (Flounder)) and the Me 263 „Scholle“ (Plaice)). In early 1945, Junkers proposed its own project, the EF 127 „Walli“ rocket fighter, as a competitor to the Me 163C and Me 263.
The first unpowered flight of the Messerschmitt Me 263 V1 was in February 1945. Several more unpowered flights took place that month. The biggest problem had to do with the center of gravity which was restored with the addition of counterweights. Eventually, the production aircraft would have repositioned the engine or the landing gear installation to solve this problem. The landing gear was still non-retractable. The results of those first flights were pricipally satisfying.
Test flights were later stopped because of fuel shortages for the Messerschmitt Bf 110 towplanes. As the Me 263 was not a part of the „Jägernotprogramm“ (Emergency Fighter Programm), it was difficult to get the resources it needed. For the time being the plane was not expected to enter production but further development was allowed. The V2 and V3 were not yet ready. The V2 was to get the retractable landing gear and the V3 would have the armament built in. The next month both the V1 and the V2 had the two-chambered HWK 109-509C installed, correcting the center-of-gravity problems. They flew only as gliders.
In April, American troops occupied the Messerschmitt plant and captured the three prototypes and the mock-up. The V2 was destroyed but another prototype ended up in the US. The rest was handed over to the Russians, who then created their own Mikoyan.Gurewitsch I-270 interceptor (Ref.: 24).
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: 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: One Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet engine, rated at 950 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: 541 mph at 13,130 ft
COMMENT: The earliest known Focke-Wulf attempt at a single-turbojet fighter, shown in a drawing dated November 1942, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190TL, had involved simply bolting a very basic in-house designed turbojet Fw T.1 to the front of an operational Fw 190.
On January 1943, company aerodynamicist J. C. Rotta offered a report entitled “Fundamentals For The Design of a Turbojet Fighter” which looked at how a large turbojet fighter ought to be, what sort of shape and layout would be best, what turbojet engines could be fitted and how, what the advantages and disadvantages of piston engines and turbojet engines were and what aerodynamic issues were.
To illustrate his points, Rotta came up with a trio of remarkably foresighted designs:
Fighter with turbojet engine BMW 003, P 3302 Design 1,
Fighter with turbojet engine BMW 003, P 3302 Design2, and
Fighter with turbojet engine Junkers Jumo 004.
Each of the three designs had its turbojet engine mounted on its back, just as the Heinkel He 162 would be configured 20 months later. The first and third designs also had forward-swept wings and backward-swept V-tails. The second BMW powered P 3302 design had unswept wings and an unswept V-tail.
However, Focke-Wulf’s design team seem to have completely ignored Rotta’s ideas when they actually started work on a series of single-seat, single-engine turbojet fighters. A report from August 1944 charts the team’s progress through seven different designs.
The first of these, dated March, 1943, was a tail-sitter based on a Fw 190 but with the cockpit relocated to the nose in place of the familiar BMW 801 piston engine, with the turbojet positioned directly below. But with this arrangement no satisfactory rolling properties were to be expected and there was also the risk of burning the airfield surface.
The second design from June, 1943, seems th have been more highly regarded and had its own separate “Baubeschreibung” (Construction description) number, the closest thing Focke-Wulf had to a “P” designation.
The wing was mounted mid-fuselage and had a slight sweep on the leading edge and straight trailing edges, the tailplane was similar to the Fw 190. The design had a tricycle undercarriage and a Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet engine was positioned more centrally under the fuselage. The cockpit was heavily protected by armor of varying thicknesses. Armament was to be two MK 108 (70 rounds each) or MK 103 30mm cannon in the fuselage nose and two MG 151/20 20mm cannon (175 rounds each) in the wing roots.
The main advantage of positioning the turbojet engine under the fuselage was to facilitate maintenance, but there were several bigger disadvantages to this design, such as the nose wheel blocking the intake on take-off and landing, objects being sucked into the air intake since it was so close to the ground. and the damage or destruction of the turbojet engine in case of a belly landing.
Finally, this design was rejected.
As far as the other five different designs are concerned. Two oft them were basis for the later Focke-Wulf twin-boom Fighter Projekt VIII „Flitzer“ („Streaker“) and swept-wing, high-mounted tailplane featured Focke-Wulf interceptor Ta 183 „Huckebein“ (Ref: 17, Uhr, D. and D. Sharp: „Luftwaffe:Secret Projects Profile“, Mortons Media Group Ltd., Horncastle, U.K., 2018).
POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojet engines, rated at 900 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 508 mph at 19,685 ft
COMMENT: The Heinkel He 280 was the first turbojet-powered fighter aircraft in the world. It was inspired by Ernst Heinkel‘s’s emphasis on research into high-speed flight and built on the company’s experience with the Heinkel He 178 turbojet prototype. A combination of technical and political factors led to it being passed over in favor of the Messerschmitt Me 262 „Schwalbe“ (Swallow). Only nine were built and none reached operational status
The Heinkel company began the He 280 project on its own initiative after the Heinkel He 178 had been met with indifference from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM, Reich Aviation Ministry).
Work on the project began under the Heinkel designation „Projekt 1065“ in late 1939 but in March, 1940, after receiving official support the designation Heinkel He 280 was applied. The design had a typical Heinkel fighter fuselage, elliptical wings and a dihedralled tailplane with twin fins and rudders. Power was provided by two Heinkel HeS 8 centrifugal turbojet engines and had a tricycle undercarriage landing gear with very little ground clearance. This arrangement was considered too frail for the grass or dirt airfields of the era; however, the tricycle layout eventually gained acceptance. The He 280 was equipped with a compressed-air powered ejection seat, the first aircraft to carry one and the first aircraft to successfully employ one in an emergency.
The first prototype was completed in the summer of 1940, but the Heinkel HeS 8 intended to power it was running into difficulties. On September 1940, while work on the engine continued, the first prototype started glide tests with ballasted pods hung in place of its engines. It was another six months before the second prototype flew under its own power, on March 1941. The aircraft was then demonstrated to Ernst Udet, head of RLM’s development wing, on April, 1941, but like its predecessor, it apparently failed to make an impression. One benefit of the He 280 which did impress the political leadership was the fact that the jet engines could burn kerosene, which requires much less expense and refining than the high-octane fuel used by piston-engine aircraft. However, government funding was lacking at the critical stage of initial development.
Over the next year, progress was slow due to the ongoing engine problems. A second engine design, the Heinkel HeS30 was also undergoing development, both as an interesting engine in its own right, as well as a potential replacement for the HeS 8. In the meantime, alternative powerplants were considered, including the Argus As 014 pulsejet that powered the Fieseler Fi 103 V-1 Flying bomb. It was proposed that up to eight be used.
Engine problems continued to plague the project. In 1942, the RLM had ordered Heinkel to abandon the HeS 8 and HeS 30 to focus all development on a follow-on engine, the Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011, a more advanced and problematic design. But because the HeS 011 was not expected for some time, Heinkel selected the rival BMW 003. However, this engine also had problems and delays. The second He 280 prototype was re-engined with Junkers Jumo 004 The Jumo 004 engines were much larger and heavier than the HeS 8 that the plane had been designed for, and while it flew well enough on its first powered flights from March 1943, it was clear that this engine was unsuitable. The aircraft was slower and generally less efficient than the Messerschmitt Me 262.
Meanwhile, the He 280 V4 and V5 had been completed, the latter with Heinkel-Hirth 001 turbojets and the former with BMW 003A-0 turbojets. The He 280 V5 was considered by Heinkel tob e representative of he proposed He 280A-1 production standart. Ist claimed peformance include a maimum speed of 509 mph at 19,685 ft at normal loaded weight. The Heinkel He 280 V6 was completed with Junkers Jumo 004 engines and full armament from the onset. Amarment consisted of three 20 mm MG 151 cannon in the fuselage nose and one 500 kg or two 250 kg bombs. The He 280 V6 was tested at Rechlin, and in early 1943, Heinkel tendered a proposal to the Technische Amt for the He 280B-1 fighter bomber with two Junkers Jumo 004 engines and an estimated maximum speed of 547 mph.
By this time, flight testing of the Messerschmitt Me 262 V4 suggested that the Messerschmitt fighter would have a performance advantage over the Heinkel He 280 when fitted with similar power plants, and particularly in so fas as range was concerned, this being a serious defect in the Heinkel fighter’s performance. Thus, on March 1943 the Technische Amt instructed Heinkel to abandon all further development of the He 280 as a fighter, permission being given to complete only the nine prototypes which were allocated to various test programmes (Ref.: 7, 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,726 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 472 mph (estimated)
COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me 609 was a short-lived WW II German project which joined two fuselages of the Messerschmitt Me 309 fighter prototype together to form a heavy fighter.
The project was initiated in response to a 1941 RLM (Reich Air Ministry) requirement for a new “Zerstörer” (destroyer, or heavy fighter) to replace the Messerschmitt Bf 110 in a minimum time and with a minimum of new parts The new design would use components from existing aircraft, thus not disrupting existing production. After the cancellation of the Messerschmitt Me 309 project in 1943, work was continued using it as a basis for other designs. One of these reworked designs was for the Me 509; another was for the 609, which was basically two Me 309 fuselages joined with a new center wing section. Messerschmitt was also working on and had completed a twin-fuselage Bf 109, known as the Me109Z, but the prototype was destroyed before flight testing.
Two Me 309 fuselages were to be joined with a constant chord center wing section, into which two inboard landing gears retracted. The outboard landing gears were resigned, two nose wheels retracted to the rear and rotating 90 degrees to lie flat beneath the engines. This resulted in an unusual four-wheel arrangement. Power was to be supplied by two Daimler Benz 603 or 605 12 cylinder inverted V liquid -cooled engines. The pilot sat in a cockpit located in the port fuselage, with the starboard cockpit canopy being faired over.
Two versions were envisioned: a heavy fighter (“Zerstörer”) and a high-speed bomber (“Schnellbomber”, fast bomber). In the fighter version, two MK 108 30 mm cannon and two MK 103 30mm cannon were projected as the armament, with a provision for two additional MK 108 30mm cannon mounted beneath the center wing section or under the outer wing sections. In addition, either one SC 500 or two SC 250 bombs could be carried, also beneath the center wing section. The fast bomber version would have reduced armament, with only two MK 108 30mm cannon were to be installed. Extra fuel (1500 kg) could be carried in the faired over starboard cockpit, and the bomb load was to consist of two SC 1000 bombs which were carried beneath each fuselage.
Finally, a two seater night fighter variant was envisioned with FuG 220 “Lichtenstein SN-2” antennas mounted at the outer wings. The pilot sat in the port and the radar operator in the starboard fuselage.
Even though it was calculated that many components of the Me 309 could be used (fuselage, engines, equipment, 80% of the wings), by the time this design began to jell, the Messerschmitt Me 262 turbojet fighter was proving to be the plane of the future, and could take over all roles for which the Me 609 was designed. Thus, the Me 609 project was no longer pursued after 1944 (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1,300 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: This late WW II Messerschmitt „Projekt Wespe” (Wasp) is mostly unknown, and information on it is incomplete. Two seperate fuselages were designed for the „Wespe”:
Design I had the cockpit located midway along the fuselage, and the single He S 011 jet engine was located at the rear and was fed by a long air duct. A long tapering single fin and rudder was chosen, with the tail planes located about halfway up.
Design II had the cockpit located far forward on the fuselage, and the single He S 011 turbojet was mounted mid fuselage. It was fed by an air duct which wrapped under the forward fuselage, and exhausted below a tail boom with a V- Tail unit.
Both designs used a tricycle landing gear arrangement, with the main gear retracting inwards from the wing and the front gear retracting forwards. No armament was specified, but at this stage in the war two MK 108 30mm cannon would probably have been fitted. Priority for both designs was the use of non-strategic material as much as possible, reduction of time for maintenance and adequate flying characteristics (Ref.: 17).
POWER PLANT: One Walter HWK 509C-1 bi-fuel rocket engine, rated at 2,000 kp main chamber plus 400 kp auxiliary chamber
PERFORMANCE: 596 mph at 40,000 ft.
COMMENT: As soon as it was realized that the HWK 509A rocket engine of the Messerschmitt Me 163B “Komet” consume appreciable more fuel than had been calculated, reducing commensurately the powered endurance of the aircraft, Professor Walter began investigating the possibility of introducing an auxiliary cruising chamber which achieved test status during 1944 in two B-series prototypes, the Me 163B V6 and Me 163B V18, these subsequently serving as test beds for the Me 163C-series. The cruising chamber afforded a thrust of 400 kp which was additional to the normal full-power thrust rating, and the intention was that the aircraft should take off and climb to operational altitude with both rocket chambers operating at full thrust, then cut the main chamber and cruise on the power of the auxiliary chamber alone. Apart from provision of a fully-retractable tailwheel which was positioned further forward to allow for the twin vertically-disposed rocket pipes, some revision of the keel line and shortening of the landing skid, the Me 163B V6 and Me 163B V18 were externally similar to the standard Me 162B-series production aircraft.
On July 1944, test pilot Rolf Opitz took off from Peenemünde in the Me 163B V18 for the first climb calibration trials with both rocket chambers functioning. Everything went according to plan until, just above 13,000 ft., the aircraft began to accelerate. At 14,760 ft. the climb rate of the aircraft was still increasing and within four seconds the aircraft has passed 16,400 ft. Another few seconds and the aircraft exceeded its critical Mach number, and Opitz promptly cut the rocket motor. The prototype immediately went into a steep dive from which Opitz only succeeded in recovering a few feet above the waters of the Baltic Sea. After landing back at Peenemünde Opitz discovered that almost the entire rudder of the aircraft had been ripped away, and it was subsequently ascertained the Me 163B V18 had attained a speed of 702 mph.
While test with both prototypes were proceeding, the Messerschmitt drawing office was working on a refined version of the rocket fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 163C, intended from the onset to utilize the auxiliary cruising chamber. While the wings of the new model were essentially similar to those of the Me 163B, a new centre section was introduced which increased overall span and gross area. This was married to an enlarged fuselage of improved fineness ratio which accommodated the pilot in a pressurized cockpit enclosed by a blister-type all-round vision canopy. The T-Stoff and C-Stoff tankage was increased and the armament, which could comprise either two 20-mm MG 151 or two 30-mm MK 108 cannon, was transferred from the wing roots to the fuselage. The additional tank capacity and cockpit pressurization allowed the maximum altitude to increase to 52,000 ft, as well as improving powered time to about 12 minutes, almost doubling combat time (from about five minutes to nine).
Preparations for the series production of the new model as Messerschmitt Me 163C-1a began late in 1944, but only three were reportedly completed, the being allocated “Versuchs” number as Me 163C V1, V2 And V3, and only one is known to have flown before all three were destroyed to prevent them falling into Soviet hands (Ref.: 7).
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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