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: Two Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojet engines, rated at 900 kp each
PERFORMANCE: 461 mph at 20,000 ft
COMMENT: In late 1940, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM, Reich Air Ministry), offered a tender for a jet-powered high-speed reconnaissance aircraft with a range of 1,340 mi. Arado was the only company to respond, offering their E.370 project, a high-wing conventional-looking design with a Junkers Jumo 004 tubojet engine under each wing.
Arado estimated a maximum speed of 480 mph at 20,000 ft, an operating altitude of 36,000 ft and a range of 1,240 mi. The range was short of the RLM request, but they liked the design and ordered two prototypes as the Arado Ar 234. These were largely complete before the end of 1941, but the Jumo 004 engines were not ready, and would not be ready until February 1943. When they did arrive they were considered unreliable by Junkers for in-flight use and were cleared for static and taxi tests only. Flight-qualified engines were finally delivered, and the first prototype, the Ar 234 V1 made its first flight on July 1943 at Rheine Airfield.
By September 1943, four prototypes were flying and four more prototypes under construction. The sixth and eighth aircraft of the series were powered with four BMW 003 turbojet engines instead of two Jumo 004s, the sixth having four engines housed in individual nacelles and the eighth flown with two pairs of BMW 003s installed within “twinned” nacelles underneath either wing. These were the first four-engine jet aircraft to fly.
The projected weight for the aircraft was approximately 8 tonnes. To reduce the weight of the aircraft and maximize the internal fuel the eight prototype aircraft were fitted with the original arrangement of trolley-and-skid landing gear, intended for the planned operational, but never-produced Arado Ar 234A version.
Arado did not use the typical retractable landing gear. Instead, the aircraft was to take off from a jettisonable three-wheeled, tricycle gear-style trolley and land on three retractable skids, one under the central section of the fuselage, and one under each engine nacelle.
The RLM had already seen the promise of the design and in July 1943 had asked Arado to supply two prototypes of a “Schnellbomber” (“Fast bomber”) version as the Arado Ar 234B. Since the original skid-equipped Ar 234A’s fuselage design was very slender and filled with fuel tanks, there was no room for an internal bomb bay and the bombload had to be carried on external racks.
Since the cockpit was directly in front of the fuselage, the pilot had no direct view to the rear, so the guns were aimed through a periscope, derived from the type used on German World War II tanks, mounted on the cockpit roof. The Ar 234B version was modified to have fully retractable tricycle landing gear, with the mid-fuselage very slightly widened to accommodate the forward-retracting main gear units, the nose gear retracting rearwards. The first twin-Jumo 004 powered prototype Ar 234B (V 7) flew on 10 March 1944 for the first time and made history on 2 August 1944 as the first jet aircraft ever to fly a reconnaissance mission.
Production B-series aircraft were slightly wider at mid-fuselage to house the main landing gear, with a central fuel tank present (the middle one of a trio of fuel tanks) in the mid-fuselage location forward tank, central and an aft. Under tests with maximum bombload consisting of three SC 500 bomb, the Ar 234 V9 aircraft could reach 418 mph at 16,000 ft. This was still better than any bomber the Luftwaffe had at the time, and made it the only bomber with any hope of surviving the massive Allied air forces. The normal bombload consisted of two 500 kg bombs suspended from the engines or one large 1,000 kg bomb semi-recessed in the underside of the fuselage with maximum bombload being 1,500 kg. In case the full bomb load was to be deployed on an Ar 234B for an operational sortie, fuel had to be reduced and two Walter HWK 109-500A-1 “Starthilfe” (Take-off assistance) liquid fuel jettisonable JATO rocket pods delivering 500kp thrust each were fixed under each wing.
Production lines were already being set up, and 20 Arado Ar 234B-0 pre-production aircraft were delivered by the end of June 1943. Later production was slow, as the Arado plants were given the simultaneous tasks of producing aircraft from other bombed-out factories hit during the USAAF’s “Big Week”, and the ongoing license-building and nascent phasing-out of Heinkel’s heavy He 177A bomber, even as the Arado firm was intended to be the sole subcontractor for the Heinkel He 177B (He 277) series strategic bomber, meant to start construction at Arado as early as October 1944. Meanwhile, several of the Ar 234 prototypes – including a few of the surviving six twin-engine Jumo 004-powered “trolley-and-skids” Ar 234A-series prototypes – were sent forward in the reconnaissance role. In most cases, it appears they were never even detected, cruising at about 460 mph at over 29,900 ft, with the seventh prototype achieving the first-ever wartime reconnaissance mission over the United Kingdom by a Luftwaffe-used jet aircraft.
The few 234Bs entered service in autumn and impressed their pilots. They were fairly fast and completely aerobatic. The long takeoff runs led to several accidents; a search for a solution led to improved training as well as the use of two jettisonable RATO units. The Jumo 004 engines were always the real problem; they suffered constant flameouts and required overhaul or replacement after about 10 hours of operation.
The most notable use of the Arado Ar 234 in the bomber role was the attempt to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen. The aircraft continued to fight in a scattered fashion until Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945. Some were shot down in air combat, destroyed by flak, or “bounced” by Allied fighters during takeoff or on the landing approach, as was already happening to Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters. Mostly the remaining aircraft sat on the airfields awaiting fuel that never arrived.
Overall from mid-1944 until the end of the war a total of 210 aircraft were built. In February 1945, production was switched to the Arado Ar 234C variant. It was hoped that by November 1945 production would reach 500 per month. Only a few of this four engine aircraft were built before Germany finally collapsed (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1.300 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 663 mph at 26,250 ft (estimated)
COMMENT: This Focke-Wulf project was submitted by Professor Kurt Tank and his team in late 1944 for a twin-jet fighter which could be used as a fighter, fighter/bomber or long-range fighter, and was to be constructed in contrast to Tanks wooden Focke-Wulf Ta 154 entirely of metal. The RLM number of 250 was assigned to this project, which had previously been held by the land version of the huge Blohm & Voss Bv 238 flying boat.
The fuselage was wide, to accommodate the nose air intake for the twin Heinkel-Hirth He S 011 jet engines that were buried in the rear fuselage. The wings were swept back at 40 degrees, with the main landing gear retracting inboard into the wing. Mounted on a “boom”, the tail unit was set high in order keep it free from jet exhaust. A single pilot sat in a pressurized cockpit located near the nose. Armament consisted of four MK 108 30mm cannon or four MG 213 20mm cannon. Also, a droppable supplemental fuel container of 1000 kg could be carried by the long-ranged fighter variant as well as guided missiles.
Further testing and work would doubtless have been needed on this project, for example, the long air intake would have resulted in a loss of power, but this could have been overcome by using leading edge or wing root air intakes instead. Even though it would have been superior in climb and turning ability than the similar Messerschmitt “Hochgeschwindigkeitsjäger” (“High-speed fighter”) Me262 HG III, but the Focke-Wulf project would have been slower and would have a longer design-to-prototype time than the Me 262 HG III. All design work was ceased in order to concentrate on Focke-Wulf’s Ta 183 “Huckebein” single jet fighter. The information learned during this project’s design was later used in the Focke-Wulf Fw P.011-45 and Fw P.011-47 jet powered night and all-weather fighter projects.
The aircraft shown here is armed with two Henschel “Zitterrochen” (“Crampfish”) radio-controlled anti-ship missiles (Ref.: 17).
POWER PLANT: Three Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,200 kp each
PERFORMANCE: 627 mph
COMMENT: During the summer of 1944, the Messerschmitt Me P.1102/105 project was on the drawing board at the same time as the Me P.1101 projects were designed, e. g. Me P.1101/92, Me P.1101/99 and Me P.1101/101. Several of these projects were of variable-geometry wing designs, a configuration which was a novelty in aircraft designing at that time.
The Messerschmitt Me P.1102/105 was developed as a fast bomber and heavy fighter.The variable-sweep wings were mounted in the center of the fuselage and could be swept between 15 and 50 degrees. For take-off and landing the wings were to be set at 20 degrees and for high speed flight the wings were to be set at the maximum of 50 degrees. The tail unit was of a normal configuration, with the tail planes swept back at 60 degrees.
Three jet engines powered the Me P.1102/105, two were located beneath the fuselage nose and one was located in the tail with an air intake on the top of the rear fuselage to feed this turbojet. Either three BMW 003 or Heinkel-Hirth He S 011 jet engines were to be employed. A single pilot sat in a cockpit located in the forward fuselage and three fuel tanks of 1200 liter capacity each were located behind the cockpit. The lower fuselage held an internal bomb bay and the tricycle landing gear.
The collapse of Germany ended work on this design. All Messerschmitt documentation relating to this projects series was seized by the US and was used in the development of several post-war aircraft. The Messerschmitt Me P.1102/105 project’s unusual three-engine power plant arrangement, in particular, was employed on the Martin XB-51 high-speed attack-interceptor which first flew in mid-1949 (Ref.: 17).
POWER PLANT: Two BMW 003 turbojet engines, rated at 900 kp each
PERFORMANCE: 553 mph at 16,405 ft
COMMENT: This Blohm & Voss dive bomber and ground attack aircraft project of 1944 was of a twin boom design with each boom having a bomb bay in the forward section capable of holding a SC 250 bomb. The aircraft was powered by two BMW 003 turbojet engines mounted side-by-side under the center nacelle in which the cockpit and armament was located. The heavy armament consisted of four fuselage mounted MG 151/20 20mm cannon. The landing gear was a conventional “tail-dragger” arrangement with extended track width. Although detail planning was in advanced stage the project was not favored by the “Technische Amt” (Technical bureau) of the RLM (Ref.: 17).
POWER PLANT: One Daimler-Benz DB 610 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 2,900 hp, driving two four-bladed pusher propellers
PERFORMANCE: 466 mph
COMMENT: In 194/42 the design team of Henschel Aircraft Company proposed an advanced project of a fast light bomber and ground attack aircraft. Power was provided by a single Daimler-Benz DB 610 engine that in fact consisted of two Daimler-Benz DB 605 liquid-cooled engines, joined side-by side. The engine drove two four-bladed pusher type propellers via an extension shaft. A similar design but powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 613 was the Henschel Hs P. 75 fighter and interceptor project. Both designs were radical in so far as a canard arrangement was proposed with elevators in front and the wing positioned to the rear. By that enough space was available to integrate the wide and bulky power unit. Furthermore, a large weapon bay in the in the forward fuselage was available. The disadvantage of this arrangement is the permanent shifting of the center of gravity. Vertical fins were located at the wingtips. Intensive work was done concerning the lay-out of the cockpit in order to give the two crew members an excellent view forward. In case of emergency the cabin could be blown up in order to prevent a collision with the eight-bladed propellers. Detailed construction was in an advanced stage when the RLM refused this project with the flimsy comment “… the pilots couldn’t acclimatize with a propeller in the back and the elevators in front”. So further work on this project was stopped (Ref.: 16, 17).
POWER PLANT: One Daimler Benz DB 613 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 3,500 hp
PERFORMANCE: 491 mph
COMMENT: In early 1941 the OKL asked for a possible successor for the Messerschmitt Me 110 heavy fighter. Among others the Henschel Aircraft Company proposed a design of a futuristic and unusual configuration. This design, the Hs P.75, featured a tapered fuselage with slightly swept-back wings set back to the rear fuselage of the aircraft and a pair of slightly swept-back canards located on the nose. The widened fuselage housed a powerful engine that drove three-bladed contra-rotating pusher propellers at the rear via an extension shaft. As power unit a Daimler Benz DB 610 engine, which were two DB 605 liquid-cooled engines joined side-by-side, was proposed. These were the same engines that the Heinkel He 177 bomber used and became known for overheating and catching fire. So it was decided to install the Daimler Benz DB 613, in fact two coupled DB 603 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 3,500 hp. A vertical tail unit was mounted beneath the fuselage additionally functioning as a tail bumper and protected the propellers from stroking the ground during take-off. A tricycle landing gear arrangement was chosen and a single pilot sat in the cockpit located about midway along the fuselage. All weapons were mounted in the nose. The advantage of the pusher propeller and the forward canard design was the excellent view of the pilot and concentration of weapons in the nose. The disadvantage would be the engine cooling and the pilot’s safely exit in case of emergency. Although good results were obtained in wind tunnel testing this design was not followed up further.
Notable is the fact that this basic design was realized in several WW II aircraft design such as Curtiss XP-55 “Ascender” and Kyushu J7W1 “Shinden” (Ref.: 17).
POWER PLANT:One BMW 003A turbojet engine, rated at 800 kp
PERFORMANCE: 485 mph at 19,685 ft
COMMENT: Early in 1943, the RLM issued a specification for a single-seat attack aircraft to combat the anticipated Allied invasion in Europe. Although the specification called for a piston-engine powered dive bomber it was soon realized that only a turbojet-driven aircraft could hope to match the proposed performance requirements. The Henschel Company submitted a design which was approved as Henschel Hs 132 and placed accent of simplicity and ease to manufacture. The wing was a wooden structure with plywood skinning, and the fuselage was a circular metal monocoque. The single turbojet was mounted above the fuselage, exhausting over the rear fuselage and between the twin vertical surfaces of the tail assembly. A tricycle landing gear was to be used and the extensively glazed cockpit was completely faired with the fuselage. The pilot was in prone position better to withstand the high G-forces of the fast and steep dive during the bomb run. It was estimated that during the dive a speed of more than 570 mph could be reached and after the bomb was released the aircraft was pulled up thus inducing acceleration forces of up to 10 G. A contract for six prototypes was placed in May 1944, and construction began in March 1945. When the war in Europe ended the Henschel Hs 132 V1 was nearly complete and captured by Soviet forces
NOTICE: To ascertain the practicability of the prone position for dive bomber pilots, the DLV ordered in early 1943 a small prone-pilot research aircraft that was designed and built by the FFG Berlin (Flugtechnische Fachgruppe/Aerotechnical Group, University Berlin) and designated Berlin B9. The design was a low winged, twin-engine aircraft of standard layout. It was built of mixed construction and could accept up to 22 G. It was flown by many experienced pilots and showed the advantages of a prone position for pilots to tolerate high g-forces. (Ref.: 17).
POWER PLANT: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603 B liquid-cooled engine
PERFORMANCE: 426 mph
COMMENT: In February 1942 severe problems became obvious with the new twin-engine Messerschmitt Me 210, successor of the aging Messerschmitt Me 110. Due to longitudinal instability and lack of performance the series production was stopped and switched back to the inadequately Me 110. So Messerschmitt was forced to redesign the aircraft by lengthening the fuselage and adding more powerful engines what finally became the Messerschmitt Me 410. In the meantime a search was begun on a new design for a twin-engine heavy fighter.
Since beginning of 1939 Prof. A. Lippisch and his design staff was part of the Messerschmitt Company and was well known for many advanced and unorthodox projects. Among these was a design study, the Lippisch LiP.10, a fast, tailless, twin-engine bomber that incorporated many parts of the unsatisfactory Me 210. Independent to this Dr. Wurster from Messerschmitt’s design team was working on a similar project that officially was designated Messerschmitt Me 329. This aircraft was of tailless design and was to be constructed mainly from wood. This would save on strategic materials and keep the weight lower. The large area wing was swept back at approximately 26 degrees, and two Daimler-Benz DB 603 engines were buried in the wings, each driving a 3.4 m four-bladed pusher propeller. A large fin and rudder was mounted at the rear and a tricycle landing gear was provided. Other advanced touches included the pilot and navigator sitting tandem in a broad bubble canopy and a remote-controlled rear gun in the tail aimed via a periscope system from the cockpit. Performance comparison between the Lippisch Li P.10, the Me 329 and the Me 410 showed that the improvement of the Me 329 over the Me 410 was marginal. So development received a low priority, and while a full-scale glider mock-up was tested in the winter of 1944/5, work on the project was cancelled shortly after (Ref.: 16, 17).
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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