|Horten Ho 229 V1 |
|Role ||Fighter |
|Crew ||One, pilot |
|First Flight || |
|Manufacturer ||Gothaer Waggonfabrik |
|Length ||7.47 m ||24 ft 6 in |
|Wingspan ||16.65 m ||54 ft 8 in |
|Height ||2.77 m ||9 ft 1 in |
|Wing area ||52.5 m2 ||565 ft2 |
|Empty ||4,800 kg ||10,582 lb |
|Loaded ||6.912 kg ||15,238 lb |
|Maximum takeoff ||9,000 kg ||19,841 lb |
|Engines ||2x Junkers Jumo 004 B turbojets |
|Thrust ||8.8 kN ||1,980 lbf |
|Maximum speed ||977 km/h ||607 mph |
|Combat range ||1000 km ||623 miles |
|Ferry range ||1,900 km ||1,184 miles |
|Service ceiling ||16,000 m ||52,000 ft |
|Rate of climb ||1,320 m/min ||4,330 ft/min |
|Wing loading ||kg/m² ||lb/ft² |
|Thrust/Weight || |
|Avionics || |
|Guns ||4x 30 mm MK 108 cannon |
|Rockets ||R4M rockets |
|Bombs ||2x 1000 kg bombs |
The Horten Ho 229 (often erroneously called "Gotha Go 229" due to the identity of the chosen manufacturer of the aircraft) was a late-World War II flying wing fighter aircraft, designed by the Horten brothers and built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik. It was a personal favourite of German Luftwaffe chief Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, and was the only plane to be able to meet his infamous performance requirements.
In the 1930s the Horten brothers had become interested in the all-wing design as a method of improving the performance of gliders. The all-wing layout removes any "unneeded" surfaces and –in theory at least– leads to the lowest possible drag. For a glider this is important, with a more conventional layout you have to go to extremes to reduce drag and end up with long wings. If you can get the same effect with a different layout, you end up with a similarly performing glider that's sturdier.
Years later, in 1943 Reichsmarschall Göring decided that all future aircraft purchased by the Luftwaffe were required to fly a 1000 kg load over 1000 km at 1000 km/h – the so called 1000/1000/1000 rule. At the time there was simply no way to meet these goals; jet engines could give you the performance, but swallowed fuel at such a rate that they would never be able to match the range requirement.
The Hortens felt that the low-drag all-wing design could meet all of the goals – by reducing the drag cruise power could be lowered to the point where the range requirement could be met. They put forward their current private (and jealously guarded) project, the Ho IX, as the basis for a fighter.
Reichsmarschall Göring believed in the design and ordered the aircraft into production at Gotha as the RLM GL/C List designation of Ho 229 before it had taken to the air under jet power. Flight testing of the Ho IX/Ho 229 prototypes began in either in December 1944 or January 1945, and the aircraft proved to be even better than expected. There were a number of minor handling problems were, and the performance was outstanding.
Gotha appeared to be somewhat upset about being ordered to build a design from two "nobodies" and made a number of changes to the design, as well as offering up a number of versions for different roles. Several more prototypes, including those for a two-seat night fighter, were under construction when the Gotha plant was overrun by the American troops in April.
The Ho 229 A-0 pre-production fighters were to be powered by two Junkers Jumo 004B turbojets with 1,962 lbf (8.7 kN) thrust each. The maximum speed was estimated at an excellent 590 mph (950 km/h) at sea level and 607 mph (977 km/h) at 39,370 ft (12,000 m). Maximum ceiling was to be 52,500 ft (16,000 m), although it's unlikely this could be met. Maximum range was estimated at 1180 miles (1,900 km), and the initial climb rate was to be 4330 ft/min (22 m/s). It was to be armed with two 30 mm MK 108 cannon, and could also carry either two 500 kg bombs, or twenty-four R4M rockets.
It was the only design to meet the 1000/1000/1000 rule, and that would have been true even for a number of years after the war. But like many of the late war German designs, the production was started far too late for the plane to have any effect. In this case none saw combat.
see also: List of World War II jet aircraft