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Blohm and Voss Bv 155 High-Altitude Day Interceptor Prototype (1944)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/9/2014

Barely three of the Blohm and Voss Bv 155 day interceptors were realized at the time of the German surrender in May of 1945.

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The Blohm & Voss Bv 155 can trace its long and ever changing history back to a Messerschmitt project that was born as "Me 155". In early 1942, work began on what was essentially a fully-navalized variant of the famous Messerschmitt Bf 109 single-seat, single-engine fighter which would adorn the deck of the under-construction German Navy aircraft carrier - "Graf Zeppelin". By the end of the year, the design of the new fighter was more or less finalized but progress on the carrier was slow and work on it was eventually cancelled in favor of other more pressing naval programs. This left the Me 155 without much of a future so Messerschmitt attempted to sell the design to the German Luftwaffe for a new "fast bomber" requirement as the "Me 155A".

As word of the development of a new high-altitude American heavy bomber - the Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" - reached the ears of German authorities, there came a pressing need for a high-altitude interceptor with the capabilities to reach it and Messerschmitt engineers modified their existing Me 155A proposal for this very requirement - now producing the revised "Me 155B". While work was ongoing on this project, Messerschmitt facilities were overwhelmed by existing wartime demands and the Me 155B was passed on to aircraft maker Blohm & Voss whose engineers enacted their own set of changes to the design (much to the chagrin of Messerschmitt engineers). By late 1943, authorities commissioned for at least five prototypes of the emerging design - now designated as "Bv 155A" - which still held many technical issues to overcome.

There proved such problems with the Bv 155A that the product was shelved in favor of a largely all-new design approach - this becoming "Bv 155B" and now more loosely based on the Messerschmitt Bf 109G. The aircraft featured the undercarriage of a Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bomber and all-new wing mainplanes and tail unit. The product's first prototype was V1 and a first flight was finally recorded on September 1st, 1944. Technical challenges forced even more changes in the V2 prototype which lessened the relationship of the aircraft with the original Bf 109G model all the more. Engineers then persuaded authorities that an engine change would benefit the design and the all-new "Bv 155C" mark was born.

To that end, the Bv 155 produced no tangible fighting aircraft product for the German Luftwaffe for the Bv 155 still lay in development at the close of the war in Europe (May 1945). Three prototypes (V1, V2, and V3) were all that were realized from the span of 1942 into 1945. The competing Focke-Wulf Ta 152 (based on the Fw 190 fighter) fulfilled the high-altitude interception role to an extent (production was extremely limited) and several jet/rocket programs were producing at least some fruits in an attempt to stem the tide of the Allied air assault. However, no single program proved the solution to save the Third Reich from defeat and Bv 155 joined the long list of German aircraft designs to not see daylight.

Proposed armament for the product ranged from several 15mm to 30mm autocannons. Performance specifications indicated a maximum speed of 430 miles per hour with ranges out to 900 miles (high estimate). Its service ceiling could have peaked at the 55,600 foot range.

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Specifications for the
Blohm and Voss Bv 155
High-Altitude Day Interceptor Prototype


Focus Model: Blohm and Voss Bv 155
Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Blohm and Voss - Nazi Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1944
Production: 3


Crew: 1


Length: 39.37 ft (12 m)
Width: 67.26 ft (20.50 m)
Height: 9.84ft (3.00 m)
Weight (Empty): 10,737 lb (4,870 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 13,228 lb (6,000 kg)


Powerplant: 1 x Daimler-Benz DB 603A inverted 12-cylinder, liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,600 horsepower.


Maximum Speed: 261 mph (420kmh; 227 kts)
Maximum Range: 286 miles (460km)
Service Ceiling: 55,774 ft (17,000 m; 10.6 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,260 feet-per-minute (689 m/min)


Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:
VARIOUS (Proposed):
1 x 30mm Mk 108 cannon in propeller hub with 2 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons.
1 x 30mm MK 103 cannon in propeller hub with 2 x 15mm MG 151 cannons.
3 x 30mm MK 108 cannons
3 x 30mm MK 103 cannons


Variants:
Bv 155 - Base Series Designation; three examples by the end of the war in Europe in May of 1945.


Operators:
Nazi Germany