Saturday, July 11, 2009

Horten Ho 229

Reimer and Walther Horten -- often called the Horten Brothers -- had little, if any, formal training in aeronautics, avionics or radar -- yet created the most advanced aircraft design of probably all time.

By 1943 in WWII Deutschland -- it was do or die time. The Eastern Front was absorbing nearly 80% of Das Reich's energies and resources, Afrika was lost -- looked like Italy was next -- and Great Britain and Great Satan were staging the debut of many many 1000 plane raids -- heavy bombers flattening German cities.

Luftwaffe's Reichsmarschall Göring issued a request for design proposals -- the 3 X 1000 project -- to produce a bomber that was capable of carrying a 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) load over 1,000 km (620 mi) at 1,000 km/h (620 mph). Conventional German bombers could reach Allied command centers in Great Britain, but were suffering devastating losses from Allied fighters.

Horten brothers delivered the world's first stealth aircraft. And ejection seat!

Essentially a flying wing, Ho 229 was of mixed construction, with the center pod made from welded steel tubing and wing spars built from wood. The wings were made from two thin, carbon-impregnated plywood panels glued together with a charcoal and sawdust mixture -- magically rendering HO 229 invisible to radar.

A shortage of pilots, petrol and catastrophic defeats on all combat fronts rendered HO 229 null and void

To determine once and for all whether Ho 229 had stealth capabilities, experts first examined the surviving 229 (sweetly hidden in DC) and probed it with a portable radar unit based on WW II time British radar tech.

Then, in the fall and winter of 2008, they set about building the full-scale re-creation at a restricted-access Northrop Grumman testing facility in California's Mojave Desert.

The construction team embraced historic materials and techniques, and the Horten 2-29 replica, like the original, is made largely of wood and bonded with glue and nails.

According to tests on the replica, World War II British radar would have picked up the Ho over the English Channel at about 80 miles (129 kilometers) out, versus 100 miles (160 kilometers) for a conventional World War II fighter.

But because of Ho 229's tremendous speed, the time from detection to target—the British mainland—would have been lowered from the usual 19 minutes to just 8 minutes, making it nigh impossible for Allied fighters to respond.

Pic - Horten Ho 229


Anonymous said...

Ah... Good ole' American ingenuity.

matija said...

germans are great!