Messerschmitt Me P.1106 Jet-Powered Fighter-Interceptor Project
The Messerschmitt Me P.1106 fighter-interceptor was a major rewrite of the originally-proposed P.1101 variable-wing jet fighter.
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Realizing the limitations of the P.1101 jet-powered, variable-wing fighter design, German engineer Doctor Woldemar Voigt and his team at Messerschmitt AG attempted a major rewrite of the product in an attempt to improve it in several areas. This endeavor was in concert with a new German Air Ministry request for a fighter-interceptor with increased range beyond the 40 or so minutes being witnessed by existing jet-powered fighter types. With the P.1101 design as a starting point, Messerschmitt engineers went to work on a redesign, this becoming the Me P.1106 project which eventually did not see as much progress as its P.1101 company counterpart.
The design team required additional internal volume for fuel storage in the P.1011
so this forced the entire cockpit aft to sit at the base of the tail fin, the emplacement faired into the fin with the pilot seated under a hinged, framed canopy. The variable-wing sweep mechanism of the P.1101 was dropped from the new design for simplicity's sake though the 40-degree swept-back wings were kept. The fuel tank was installed above the existing turbine emplacement with the main wing elements driven through the space between the fuel stores and engine. A "T-style" tail was originally selected and the tricycle undercarriage was carried over from the P.1101 as was its nose-mounted intake opening required to aspirate the turbine engine. The engine nacelle ran under the aircraft's belly to about the midway point of the design. The rearrangement of the cockpit left the P.1106 an awkward-looking shape to say the least when viewed in profile.
Proposed specifications included a wingspan of 21 feet, 10 inches and a length of 30 feet, 2 inches. Maximum speed was in the vicinity of 615 miles per hour with the selected Heinkel HeS 011 turbojet engine to be use - though of course this only proved an estimate and remained highly theoretical.
Proposed armament centered around 2 x 30mm MK 108 autocannons fitted at the nose. This would prove sufficient when going up against both Allied fighters and bombers despite their slower rate-of-fire when compared to machine guns. The 30mm projectile held substantial penetration and destructive power to bring any aircraft down with a few well-placed hits. Ammunition would, of course, be limited due to the size of the individual 30mm shells required and the limited space aboard the P.1106 design.
As the design stood heading into late 1944, the P.1106 had little to recommend it. It was an ugly-looking aircraft that retained some of the same aerodynamic issues encountered with the original P.1101 design but also introduced poor visibility for the pilot. His position well-aft of midships meant that his view was of the long-running fuselage dorsal spine and nose section as well as a good view of the upper surfaces of the wings - this proved fatal for any fighter design where situational awareness was a key quality. Additionally, with the cockpit faired into the tail unit, his view to the rear was equally obstructed.
In one final push to make the P.1106 viable, Voigt and his team attempted to rework the paper design one more time in an effort to possibly salvage it for supersonic research. This would entail a lengthened tail unit to house the proposed 2 x Walther HWK 509A rocket kits taking place of the HeS 011 turbojet. As the rockets did not need to be aspirated like the turbojet, the open nose intake would be faired over in a cone assembly for aerodynamic efficiency. The intended T-tail was to then give way to a "V-tail" arrangement which released the cockpit from integration into the tail section. This would then allow a bubble canopy to replace the original's framed unit for better viewing.
Needless to say, this revision did not proceed as the entire program was ultimately shelved for good.