Horten Ho XVIII (Amerika Bomber) Heavy Bomber Flying Wing Proposal
Luftwaffe leader Hermann Goring accepted the Horten Ho XVIII Amerika Bomber flying wing proposal for immediate construction.
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The Horten H.XVIII existed as a proposed jet-powered bomber for the German Luftwaffe during World War 2. The bomber was part of the "Amerika Bomber" initiative calling for a transatlantic bombing platform able to strike targets in far-off places - namely the United States whose homefront was virtually out of reach from current generation German bombers yet causing so much disruption to the German war effort in Europe. The H.VIII was another of the Horten Brother's "flying wing" proposals that utilized a blended body-wing surface while lacking vertical appendages and promoting excellent internal storage space to be taken up by fuel and drop ordnance. The H.XVIII carried many of the design features established in the Horten Brother's most memorable design, the Ho 229 flying wing, which was under development by the end of the war.
While the Germans were some distance away from developing their own atomic bomb, it is conceivable that an Amerika Bomber would have been used to deliver such ordnance over American cities. Luftwaffe head Hermann Goring himself believed this as an achievable goal. Fears of a German atomic bomb spurred the Americans to develop the weapon first as well as the aircraft to deliver it - the Boeing B-29 "Superfortress".
It was in late 1944 that the German Air Ministry was considering a long range bomber to disrupt American involvement in the war by delivering bombs to American cities and factories by way of the Atlantic route. Major German aviation defense players were all considered but none were able to meet the Luftwaffe demand concerning range - 6,835 miles being the bare minimum proposed by Goring. The Horten Brothers were approached with the requirement and accepted the challenge to design such a bomber utilizing their interesting flying wing concept that originally began with unpowered glider tests some time earlier. This led to the Brothers evolving their existing Ho 229 product by simply enlarging its dimensions and adding additional engines (to six from the original two) and the project gained the designation of "H.XVIII" (P.18) though this was a reportedly unofficial marker.
The engine of choice was to become either the BMW 003 or Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet arranged in two banks of three engines (for a total of six seated side-by-side-by-side). The engines would take up a place in the rear fuselage, aspirated through six portholes at the fuselage's leading edge and exhausting over the fuselage's trailing edge promoting a smooth overall contour to the aircraft's shape. Estimate performance figures included a maximum speed of 560 miles per hour with a range of 7,460 miles - though none of these values were ever proven before the end.
The overhead appearance of the aircraft was of a slightly flattened triangle with the cockpit seated at the apex housing a crew of three under a "greenhouse-style" canopy assembly providing good views of the upcoming terrain. The wings feature sweep back along their leading and trailing edges and were rounded at their tips. Because the H.XVIII lacked any vertical surfaces, controlling was to be handled through a series of flaps built into the wings - namely at the trailing edges. Construction of the aircraft was set to include a steel tube framework with metal skinning at the fuselage and a wood/glue based combination for the wings. As it stood, the H.XVIII was to have been a massive aircraft with a wingspan reaching out to 138 feet.