Volksjäger Ta 183

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Focke-Wulf Ta 183 in flight.

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Focke-Wulf P.V of February 1945, soon to become the Ta 183.

Emergency Fighter Competition third round (27-28th February, 1945) competitors:

Messerschmitt P 1101, P 1110 and P 1111

Focke-Wulf P.V and Entwurf III

Heinkel P 1078

Blohm & Voss P 212

Junkers EF 128

Focke-Wulf continued to pitch its elegant P.V design with its swept wings and long T-tail but added another less risky option to sit alongside it – an aircraft known simply as Entwurf III. This was similar to the P.V but with the cockpit positioned further back from the engine’s intake rather than being sat right above it, and with a conventional low tail plane rather than the P.V’s T-top.

Stung by criticism of the P 1106’s poor pilot visibility, Messerschmitt withdrew it from contention – reinstating the P 1101 in its place. A refined version of the P 1110 remained, but was joined by a near-delta wing fighter which drew on the firm’s years of experience with tailless designs, the P 1111.

Heinkel pressed ahead with its P 1078 and Blohm & Voss altered its P 212’s fuselage to make it aerodynamically cleaner. Junkers EF 128 also remained in contention, unchanged.

A report produced for the meeting said: ‘Subject: Comparison of designs for single-jet fighter, Upper Bavarian Research Station, Oberammergau. Summary: The report gives a concise statement of the most important technical points and sizes for comparison of the single-jet fighter.

The performances are determined from general characteristics (performance adjustment according to Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt). At the request of the Entwicklungs Hauptkommission and the head of the Technische Luft Rustung, designs for single-jet fighters were tendered by the following firms: Blohm & Voss, Focke-Wulf, Ernst Heinkel, Junkers, Messerschmitt.

At the meeting of the Entwicklungs Hauptkommission on 27-28th February, 1945, a decision concerning the completion of these designs is to be made. The purpose of this report, after careful work on the material in question, is to present a comparison between the designs tendered, and, thus, is to serve the EHK as the basis for decision. A considerable interruption of the work necessary for this report was brought about by war conditions. On account of the bad traffic and communication facilities, it was not possible to obtain in written form the report of the DVL on general performance and criticism of the characteristics of the aircraft.

For the same reasons it was not possible to compare in the general discussion with DVL the additional designs tendered (the design from Heinkel and the Messerschmitt P 1101 and P 1111 designs).

In order to ensure the fairest possible comparison, reference was made to the performance and weights of all the designs submitted with regard to equipment and armament. The aircraft weights were determined against each other at the beginning of the performance comparison. The bulletproofing was not assumed to be of equal weight for the individual designs, but the bulletproofing for each aircraft was set out so that an equal extent of protection was obtained wherever possible.

Exceptions can be made for designs P 1101 and P 1111 from Messerschmitt, as these have to be considered with a view to their stronger armament (three MK 108 and four MK 108 respectively, instead of two MK 108). This happened on account of the fact that the arrangement of the supplementary armament at the extreme front of the aircraft presented great difficulties on both models in regard to the centre of gravity, and thus the firm provided additional armament as a fundamental. The design of the Heinkel company was not included in the comparison of performance and weight, as it was not ready at the time. The comparison was finished, but the result has not yet been submitted at this time to Special Commission for Day Fighters. The estimated performances are thus the firm’s specifications.

The estimated performance for the designs P 1110, P 1101 and P 1111 from Messerschmitt do not correspond entirely to the values that were ascertained at the comparison of performance. For the design P 1110, an increase of wing and fuselage surface is contemplated and considered according to the fundamental process of calculating the performance comparison. The designs P 1101 and P 1111 that were not submitted for the performance comparison by Messerschmitt, were calculated by the firm according to an agreed process and were submitted for decision in place of the project P 1106. The estimated performances are comparative figures, which will serve as the deciding factor for the value of the designs submitted. They are not to be considered as absolute estimates of the velocities.

The report consists of a short description, in concise form, of the separate projects, with the most important technical points such as the main dimension weights and important performances in comprehensive tables.

These served the Special Commission for Day Fighters on January 12, 1945, as a basis. In the meantime, alterations proposed by the firms have not been considered.’

The third and final round competitors for the Emergency Fighter Competition on 27-28th February, 1945, were Focke-Wulf’s P.V and Entwurf III, Messerschmitt’s P 1101, P 1110 and P 1111, Heinkel’s P 1078 C, Blohm & Voss’s P 212 and Junkers’ EF 128.

Comparative data

Top speed

Messerschmitt P 11101000kph (621mph)

Messerschmitt P 1111995kph (618mph)

Messerschmitt P 1101980kph (608.5mph)

Blohm and Voss P 212965kph (599mph)

Focke-Wulf Entwurf 3962kph (597mph)

Focke-Wulf Ta 183955kph (593mph)

Junkers EF 128905kph (562mph)

Heinkel P 1078 Cdata unavailable

Rate of climb

Messerschmitt P 111123.7m/s (4660ft/min)

Focke-Wulf Entwurf 323.2m/s (4550ft/min)

Junkers EF 12822.9m/s (4500ft/min)

Messerschmitt P 110122.2m/s (4380ft/min)

Messerschmitt P 111021.5m/s (4250ft/min)

Blohm and Voss P 21221.3m/s (4200ft/min)

Focke-Wulf Ta 18320.5m/s (4020ft/min)

Heinkel P 1078 Cdata unavailable

Take-off weight

Heinkel P 1078 C3920kg

Messerschmitt P 11014064kg

Junkers EF 1284077kg

Focke-Wulf Entwurf 34100kg

Blohm and Voss P 2124180kg

Messerschmitt P 11114282kg

Messerschmitt P 11104290kg

Focke-Wulf Ta 1834379kg

Maximum fuel capacity

Focke-Wulf Entwurf 32100 litres

Junkers EF 1281570 litres

Messerschmitt P 11011500 litres

Messerschmitt P 11101500 litres

Messerschmitt P 11111500 litres

Heinkel P 1078 C1450 litres

Focke-Wulf Ta 1831440 litres

Blohm & Voss P 2121370 litres

Maximum armament

Blohm & Voss P 2125 x MK 108

Messerschmitt P 11105 x MK 108

Focke-Wulf Ta 1834 x MK 108

Junkers EF 1284 x MK 108

Messerschmitt P 11014 x MK 108

Messerschmitt P 11114 x MK 108

Focke-Wulf Entwurf 33 x MK 108

Heinkel P 1078 C2 x MK 108

FOCKE-WULF

The Focke-Wulf’s P.V as it appeared in February 1945, shortly to become known as the Ta 183, was specifically design to allow the aircraft to fly as close to Mach 1 as possible without suffering the negative effects of compressibility – particularly strong vibrations and loss of control. Its wings were sharply swept back and far narrower than they had been a year earlier. The engine’s air intake had also been sculpted and shaped using wind tunnel models for maximum efficiency.

The design team at Focke-Wulf, who code-named the aircraft ‘Huckebein’, were confident that they had satisfactorily resolved the issues associated with high-speed flight and that the aircraft would be suitable for low-speed flying too.

It was proposed that the P.V/Ta 183 would be adaptable and could easily be converted into a short-range interceptor with the addition of a rocket engine with 1000kg thrust in the rear fuselage. The T-Stoff and C-Stoff fuel needed for this, however, would need to be carried externally in drop-tanks. The rocket’s pumps would be driven by the turbojet and 200 seconds of thrust would be available.

When used in the fighter-bomber role, the P.V would be able to carry up to 500kg in munitions in a specially designed semi-recessed bomb rack. Standard-fit weaponry would be a pair of MK 108s, each with 100 rounds, but a second supplementary pair of these powerful 30mm cannon could be installed with 60 rounds each. This would result in the aircraft’s maximum service ceiling being reduced by 600m.

The struts for the tricycle undercarriage’s main legs would simply be repurposed Fw 190 components, as would the pilot’s seat. Even the cockpit canopy and its emergency release mechanism would largely come from that of the Fw 190.

Some 45.3% of the P.V was to be made of steel, another 25% was duraluminium, 25.9% was plywood and other materials made up the remaining 3.8%.

The second Focke-Wulf design put forward for the final analysis was the Entwurf III. It was clearly similar to what would become the Ta 183 but was also noticeably more conservative in layout. The undercarriage arrangement was largely the same and so was the armament – but with an optional upgrade reduced to just one additional MK 108 for a total of three. But the wings had a less severe sweepback and the tail was far more conventional. Based on the DVL’s calculation formula, the Entwurf III was actually faster than the P.V/Ta 183, with a top speed of 597mph compared to 593mph and it could climb faster too, at a rate of 4550 feet per minute compared to just 4020 feet per minute.

Conclusion

Long months after the original ‘emergency’ for which the Emergency Fighter Competition was named had arisen and grown into a solid death blow for Nazi Germany, the contest finally drew to a close and a winner was chosen – Focke-Wulf’s Ta 183. Its performance against the other designs had been relatively mediocre and it finished mid-to-bottom of the table in every respect. Yet it won in one crucial area – it was close to production ready. The company could demonstrate that it had been working on the design, relatively unchanged, for over a year and was also able to produce detailed constructional blueprints for most of the design’s major structures and systems. It was a safe bet and the German chief development committee adjudicators grasped it with both hands – even though time had long since run out for what was now hurriedly designated the Ta 183. It had been hoped that the new fighter would be able to make its first flight as a prototype towards the end of May or perhaps early June 1945 but this was not to be. In fact, the earliest that production models of the Ta 183 might have been produced was October 1945. The capture of Focke-Wulf’s Bad Eilsen design headquarters – complete with chief designer Kurt Tank himself – on April 8 put an end to both the Ta 183 and the Emergency Fighter Competition that had spawned it.

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