Category Archives: Nightfighter

Nightfighter

Heinkel He 219A-0 “Uhu”, (“Eagle Owl”), I-NJG 1 (Dragon)

TYPE: Night fighter

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two, Pilot and Radar operator/navigator

POWER PLANT: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603G liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,900 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 416 mph at 22,965 ft

COMMENT: The Heinkel He 219 “Uhu” (“Eagle Owl”) was a night fighter that served with the German Luftwaffe in the later stages of WW II. A relatively sophisticated design, the He 219 possessed a variety of innovations, including Lichtenstein SN-2 advanced VHF-band intercept radar, also used on the Junkers Ju 88C and Messerschmitt Bf 110G night fighters. It was also the first operational military aircraft to be equipped with ejection seats and the first operational German World War II-era aircraft with tricycle landing gear. Had the He 219 been available in quantity, it might have had a significant effect on the strategic night bombing offensive of the Royal Air Force; however, only 294 of all models were built by the end of the war and these saw only limited service.
Development and production of the He 219 was protracted and tortuous, due to political rivalries between Josef Kammhuber, commander of the German night fighter forces, Ernst Heinkel, the manufacturer and Erhard Milch, responsible for aircraft construction in the Reichluftfahrtministerium (RLM – the German Aviation Ministry). The aircraft was also complicated and expensive to build; these factors further limited the number of aircraft produced.
When engineer R. Lusser returned to Heinkel from Messerschmitt, he began work on a new high-speed bomber project called Heinkel He P.1055. This was an advanced design with a pressurized cockpit, twin ejection seats (the first to be planned for use in any combat aircraft), tricycle landing gear — featuring a nose gear that rotated its main strut through 90° during retraction (quickly orienting the nose wheel into the required horizontal position for stowage within the nose, only at the very end of the retraction cycle) to fit flat within the forward fuselage and remotely controlled, side mounted FDSL 131 defensive gun turrets similar to those used by the Messerschmitt Me 210. Power was to be provided by two of the potentially troublesome, dual-crankcase Daimler-Benz DB 610 “power system” engines then under development, weighing on the order of about 1–​12 tonnes apiece, producing 2,950 hp each, delivering excellent performance with a top speed of approximately 470 mph and a 2,500 mi range with a 2,000 kg bomb load.
The RLM rejected the design in August 1940 as too complex and risky. Lusser quickly offered four versions of the fighter with various wingspans and engine choices in order to balance performance and risk. At the same time, he offered the Heinkel He P.1056, a night fighter with four 20 mm cannon in the wings and fuselage. The RLM rejected all of these on the same grounds in 1941. Heinkel was furious and fired Lusser on the spot.
About the same time as Lusser was designing the P.1055, Kammhuber had started looking for an aircraft for his rapidly growing night fighter force. Heinkel quickly re-designed the P.1055 for this role as the Heinkel He P.1060. This design was similar in layout but somewhat smaller and powered by two of the largest displacement  single-block liquid-cooled aviation engines placed in mass production in Germany, the Daimler-Benz DB 603 inverted V12 engine. As designed by Heinkel, these engines’ nacelle accommodations featured annular radiators similar to the ones on the Junkers Jumo 211-powered Junkers Ju 88A, but considerably more streamlined in appearance, and which, after later refinement to their design, were likely to have been unitized as a Heinkel-specific “Kraftei” (Power egg) engine unit-packaging design. Nearly identical-appearance nacelles, complete with matching annular radiators, were also used on the four prototypes Heinkel He 177B prototype airframes built in 1943-44, and the six ordered prototypes of Heinkel’s He 274 high-altitude strategic bombers with added turbochargers. The early DB 603 subtypes had poor altitude performance, which was a problem for Heinkel’s short-winged design, but Daimler had a new “G” subtype of the DB 603 power plant meant to produce 1,900 hp take-off power apiece under development to remedy the problem. Heinkel was sure he had a winner and sent the design off to the RLM in January 1942, while he funded the first prototype himself. The RLM again rejected the He 219, in favour of new Junkers Ju 88- and Messerschmitt Me 210-based designs.
Construction of the prototype started in February 1942 but suffered a serious setback in March, when Daimler said that the DB 603G engine would not be ready in time. Instead, they would deliver a 603A engine with a new gear ratio to the propellers, as the DB 603C with the choice of using four-blade propellers, as the similarly-powered Focke-Wulf Fw 190C high-altitude fighter prototypes were already starting to use into early 1943, with the DB 603. DB 603 engines did not arrive until August 1942 and the prototype did not fly until November 1942.
When Kammhuber saw the prototype, he was so impressed that he immediately ordered it into production over Milch’s objections. Milch – who had rejected the He 219 in January in favor of the Junkers Ju 388J – was enraged.
Stability problems with the aircraft were noted but Heinkel overcame these by offering a cash prize to engineers who could correct them. Further changes were made to the armament during the development of the prototype He 219V-series. The dorsal rear defensive guns mounted atop the fuselage and firing directly rearward from a fixed, internally mounted, rear-facing dorsal “step” position, at a point just aft of the wing trailing edge, were removed due to their ineffectiveness. The forward-firing armament complement of the aircraft was increased to two Mauser MG 151/20 20 mm cannon in the wing roots, inboard of the propeller arcs to avoid the need for gun synchronizers, with four more MG 151/20 cannon mounted in the ventral fuselage tray, which had originally ended in a rearwards-facing “step” similar to and located directly under the deleted rear dorsal “step” – this rearwards-facing feature was also deleted for similar reasons.
The Heinkel He 219A-0 model featured a bulletproof shield that could be raised in the front interior cockpit, hiding the entire bottom portion of the windscreen, providing temporary pilot protection and leaving a sighting slot by which the gunsight could be aimed at a bomber. Production prototypes were then ordered as the Heinkel He 219A-0 and quickly progressed to the point where prototypes V7, V8 and V9 were handed over to operational units in June 1943 for testing.
The earlier prototypes, with four-blade propellers for their DB 603 engines (also used on the Fw 190C prototypes, with the same DB 603 engine) had blunt, compound-curvature metal nose cones also used for production-series He 219A airframes. The initial examples of these nose cones possessed cutouts for their use with the quartet of forward-projecting masts for the “Matratze” (“Mattress”) 32-dipole radar antennae on the noses of at least the first five prototypes, used with the early UHF-band “Lichtenstein” B/C or C-1 radar installation. These early He 219V-series prototype airframes also had cockpit canopies that did not smoothly taper aftwards on their upper profile, as on the later production He 219A-series airframes, but instead ended in a nearly hemispherically-shaped enclosure. The fourth prototype, He 219 V4, equipped with the earlier canopy design, had a small degree of internal metal framing within the rearmost hemispherical canopy glazing, apparently for a rear dorsal weapons mount or sighting gear for the deleted fixed “step”-mount rearwards-firing armament.
The first major production series was the Heinkel He 219A-0, although initially the pre-production series, it matured into a long running production series, due to numerous changes incorporated into the design, along with the cancellation of several planned variants. Production problems as a result of Allied bombing in March meant the A-0 did not reach Luftwaffe units until October 1943. The A-0 was usually armed with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in the wing roots and up to four 20 mm or 30 mm cannon in a ventral weapons bay. The first 10–15 aircraft were delivered with the 490 MHz UHF-band FuG 212 “Lichtenstein” C-1radar with a 4 × 8-dipole element “Matratze” antenna array. 104 Heinkel He 219A-0s were built until the summer of 1944, the majority of them at EHW (Ernst Heinkel Wien) or Heinkel-Süd in Wien-Schwechat (Ref.: 24).

Horten/Gotha Go 229B-1 (Pioneer)

TYPE: Night- and all-weather fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and radar observer

POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Jumo 004C turbojet engines, rated at 1.100 kp each

PERFORMANCE: 600 mph at 40,000 ft

COMMENT: The Horten/Gotha Go 229B-1 was a night- and all-weather fighter variant of the basic Horten/ Gotha- Go 229A-0. The design based on the projected Horten Ho 229B V-7. Again the fuselage was lengthened to accommodate two crew members in tandem and FuG 240 Berlin radar. The flight characteristics were unchanged compared with the Horten/Gotha Go 229A-0. The project never left the drawing board.

Junkers EF 128 Nachtjäger (Night fighter), (Planet, resin)

TYPE: Night- and all-weather fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and radar observer

POWER PLANT: One Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1,200 kp

PERFORMANCE: 621 mph at 23,000 ft, estimated

COMMENT: In mid 1944 the OKL (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, Luftwaffe High Command) issued to tender a development request calling for a fighter powered by a Heinkel He S 011 turbojet engine. Required were a top speed of 612 mph at 23,000 ft and an armament of four MK 108 cannon.  In contrast to the single-seater, proposed by Blohm & Voss, Bv P.212, Focke-Wulf, Ta 183, Heinkel, He P.1078, and Messerschmitt, Me P.1110, Junkers presented the project EF 128 as a two-seater all-weather fighter. In two conferences between the aircraft companies, the OKL and the DVL, held in December 1944 and January 1945, all designs were evaluated. Finally chosen was the design of Junkers EF 128, as well as single-seater, and as two-seater. The production should start in mid 1945. Due to the compact fuselage and the relative high cross section it was possible to seat the crew side-by-side in an pressurized cockpit and to integrate newest radar equipment such as FuG 240 “Berlin” (Ref.: 20).

Messerschmitt Me 262B-2 with Heinkel-Hirth HeS 021 Turboprop (Revell, Parts from Unicraft, Resin)

TYPE: Long-range night- and all-weather fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two, pilot and radar observer

POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 021 turboprop engines, rated at 3,300 hp each

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: From the onset Messerschmitt engineers worked on several modification of the basic Me 262 ‘Schwalbe’ and ‘Sturmvogel’ designs, e. g. with different equipment, engines, electronics and weapon systems. Some of them were realized, others remained in project status. The availability of new and powerful turboprop engines was of great interest for long-range aircraft, especially for night- and all-weather fighters. The main advantage of this new power unit was the relative little fuel consumption, compared with the turbojet engines at that time, and by that an extended time of flight. Pioneers on that field were BMW (BMW 028, 5,440 hp), Daimler Benz (DB ZTL, 2,000 hp), Heinkel,( HeS 021, 3,300 hp), and Junkers (Jumo 022, 6,000 hp). None of these engines were completed and tested, but some in a very advanced stage.
This Messerschmitt Me 262B-2 design  dates back to early 1945. Based on an airframe of a two-seater Me 262B, two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 021 turboprops, each driving six-bladed propellers, should be installed. As with many other projects this design remained on the drawing board until the end of the hostilities. After the war similar designs were developed and flown in the UK, the Gloster ‘Trent Meteor”, and the US the Convair XP-81, and the Ryan F2R-1 ‘Dark Shadow’, respectively.

 

 

 

 

Blohm & Voss Bv P.215 (Frank-Airmodel, Resin)

TYPE: Night fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,300 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: 541 mph

COMMENT:  A specification for a night fighter was issued by the RLM in late January 1944. Preliminary requirements postulated a top speed of 560 mph, an endurance of four hours, an internally mounted FuG 240 or FuG 244 radar, and an armament consisting of four cannon. Dr. Richard Vogt, chief engineer of Blohm & Voss Company, who designed the Blohm & Voss Bv P.212 jet fighter, contender of the “Jägernotprogramm” (Fighter emergency program), immediately began work of an larger aircraft to meet the specification issued for the new night fighter. On the basis of the Bv P.212 he designed the new aircraft, officially designated Blohm & Voss Bv P.215. The fuselage was short with an air intake in the nose leading the flow directly to the turbojet engines mounted in the rear fuselage. The wings featured a 30 degree swept back and 6 degrees of dihedral. The outer wing tips angled down at 23 degrees, and assisted stability and control. There were two small vertical fins and rudders located on the trailing edge of the wing, where the outer wing tips angled down. The nose landing gear was taken from a Heinkel He 219 “Uhu” and retracted to the rear, and the two main wheels retracted forwards into the fuselage. A pressurized cockpit held the three man crew seated on ejection seats. The defensive armament consisted on a remote controlled, rear-facing FHL 151 turret and two MG 151/20 cannon. Two bombs, SC 250 or SC 500 could be carried in a belly recess. On February 1945, the specifications for the future night fighter were upgraded, which none of the competitor’s designs were able to achieve. Although the Blohm & Voss Bv P.215 would have had good performance characteristics, it did not reach the new specifications either. Criticism concerned the short time of flight, stall at high speeds, caused by the short and thick fuselage, and uncertainty due to the unusual control units. Nevertheless, in March 1945, the design was chosen for further development. With the collapse of Nazi Germany any further work on that novel aircraft were stopped (Ref.: 17, 22).

Arado Ar E.583.5 (Planet, Resin)

TYPE: Heavy night- and all-weather fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two

POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,300 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: 500 mph

COMMENT: The Arado Ar E. 583.5 project was a heavy night and all-weather fighter that was proposed to the “Entwicklungs-Hauptkommission (EHK, Main commission for development) on 15. March 1945. The design was a 35 degree delta-wing with twin fins and rudders located on the wing trailing edge. The two man crew was seated back-to-back in a pressurized cockpit. The two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojets were located under the rear fuselage. Four MK 108 30mm cannon were mounted in the nose,  two upward-firing , oblique mounted MK 108 30mm cannon were located in mid fuselage, and two remotely controlled backwards firing MK 108 cannon in the tail. After the WW II construction drawings from Arado came to the US and influenced the design of the Chance Vought F7U Cutlass (Ref. 15, 16, 17).

Arado Ar E 583.06 (Planet, Resin)

TYPE: Heavy night and all-weather fighter and fighter-bomber. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1.300 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: 466 mph

COMMENT: The Arado Ar E.583.06 was a design of a night and all-weather fighter, presented to the “Entwicklungs-Hauptkommission (EHK, Main commission for development) in March 1945. The layout was a more conventional counterpart to the radical delta-wing design Arado Ar E. 583.05 presented at the same time. Wings were swept-back at 35 degrees and two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines were placed under each wing. A crew of three men was seated in the pressurized cabin, which was fitted with ejection seats. The heavy armament consisted of four MK 108 30mm cannon mounted in the nose,  two upward-firing , oblique mounted MK 108 30mm cannon located in mid fuselage, and one remotely controlled backwards firing MK 108 cannon in the tail. The end of WW II stopped any further development (Ref. 15, 16, 17).

Heinkel He P.1079A (Planet, Resin)

TYPE: Night fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two

POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,300 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: 590 mph

COMMENT:   In mid 1944 the Heinkel design office was working on a heavy night and bad weather fighter with two-turbojet engines, and two crew members under project number P.1079. Initially, two different designs A and B were studied. Project He P.1079A was designed as a night-fighter. The crew of two sat back-to-back in the cockpit which was located near the nose. The wings were swept back 35 degrees and were mounted mid-fuselage, with two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojets located in the wing roots. A V-tail plane (butterfly tail plane) was provided and armament was to be four MK 108 30mm cannon. Project He 1079B, a night fighter, too, was closer to a flying wing layout, although there was a single, vertical fin which replaced the V-tail of the P.1079A. Furthermore, the wings were gull-shaped and were swept back at 45 degrees. No evidence has been found that any of both P.1079 projects were ever submitted to the RLM, but it is known that members of Heinkel construction bureau were working on these designs under U.S. supervision during the summer of 1945 (Ref.: 16).

Focke-Wulf Fw P.0310251-13/II (Planet, Resin)

TYPE: Night and all-weather fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: One Junkers Jumo 222C/D radial engine, rated at 3000 hp and two BMW 003A turbojet engines, rated at 800 kp thrust each

PERFORMANCE: 527 mph

COMMENT: In autumn 1944 the team of Focke-Wulf proposed a design of a mixed-propulsion aircraft as a night and all-weather fighter. Three different projects are planed with different piston engines. Project I with Daimler-Benz DB 603N in-line engine, rated at 2705 hp and driving four-bladed propeller, Project II with Junkers Jumo 222C/D four row radial engine, rated 3000 hp and driving five-bladed propeller (shown here), and Project III with Argus As 413 in-line engine, rated at 4000hp, driving four-bladed propeller. Additionally, the latter two projects featured a pair of BMW 003A turbojets slung under the wings. The mid-fuselage mounted engine drove the rear propeller by an extension shaft and air was fed via two intakes in the wing roots. The wings were swept back and a cruciform tail was fitted, the lower fin also helping to keep the propeller from striking the ground during take-off. A crew of three (pilot, navigator and radar operator) sat together in a pressurized cockpit covered by a bubble canopy. Flight times could be increased up to eight hours with the jet engines shut down and the rear engine operating at half throttle. The aircraft was heavily armed with four forward firing MK 108 30mm cannon in the nose and two upward-firing oblique MK 108 30mm cannon in mid fuselage. In addition, two 500 kg bombs could be carried at the outer wing stations. The defeat of Germany made further plans obsolete (Ref.: 16).

Gotha P. 60C (Planet, Resin)

TYPE: Night fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and radar operator

POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS-11 turbojet engines, rated at 1,500kp

PERFORMANCE: 596 mph, estimated

COMMENT:  In August 1944 the Gotha Aircraft Company was given the order of series production of the Horten Ho IX flying wing fighter, designated Go 229A. But additionally, in January 1945 the Gotha engineers proposed a series of altrenate all-wing design to the RLM which used many of the construction techniques as the Horten aircraft but had the advantage of being able to be modified with new equipment and engines without changing the flying characteristics. Three designs were proposed, and designation Gotha Go P.60A, Go P.60B, and Go P.60C was given. All were of delta-shaped., flying wing design, and powered by two turbojet engines at the rear end, one engine above the wing, the other slung under the fuselage. A two men crew sat in a pressurized and armored cockpit, located in the extreme nose. For its duty as night fighter the aircraft was equipped with the most modern radar available at that time. The Gotha Go P.60A was powered by two BMW 003A-1 turbojet engines, rated at 800 kp each, the crew laid in prone position. The Gotha Go P.60B was a further development of the P.60 series which simplified construction by utilizing an easier to build airframe and a conventional rudder. The two-seat cockpit was located behind the radar equipment in a fuselage section. The two engines were upgraded to Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojets. The RLM approved the construction of the project in 1945, but later construction of the prototype was halted in favor of the Go P.60C. This was the final design of the Gotha Go P.60 series, the P.60C night fighter. The fuselage was lengthened to accommodate the installation of the newest radar set with its “Morgenstern” (Morningstar) or the the FuG 240 “Berlin” antenna. The end of the war prevented further development (Ref.: 16).