Junkers Ju EF 140 (Amerika Bomber) Jet-Powered Long-Range Heavy Bomber Proposal
The Junkers contribution to the German wartime Amerika Bomber program was its Ju EF 140 design - originally based on the Horten P.18A.
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What became the last Junkers wartime submission to the German Air Ministry during World War 2 (1939-1945) - the Junkers EF-140 (or "Project 140") - was actually a further development of the earlier Horten Ho P.18A flying wing bomber developed as part of the "Amerika Bomber" initiative. The initiative stemmed from the German need to generate a fleet of bombers capable of crossing the Atlantic and striking at major American cities along the east coast (hence the program's name). The bomber would have to possess inherently excellent range to reach these targets and return home after delivery of their war load. High altitude operation was a must for efficiency and to avoid interception by aircraft or ground-based fire.
Thanks to the Allied air raids wreaking havoc on German war-making facilities and infrastructure, the Germans lost their chance to advance an atomic weapons program and were forced along a more conventional route utilizing more conventional methods. This gave renewed attention to a long range bomber for delivery of a large drop-bomb load and various German air concerns through their hat into the ring to secure a Luftwaffe contract for a long range, heavy-hitter. Despite several design competitions to fulfill the requirement, no one company could promise that their new bomber would possess the range necessary.
The Horten Brothers (Walter and Reimar) were contacted during late 1944 due to their background in large, tailless "flying wing" aircraft that might fit the bill. Walter Horten responded with a possible submission which entailed use of no fewer than six Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engines. The design was designated as the "P.18A" and Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goring himself championed the product.
In an effort to expedite development of the bomber, it was decided by the Air Ministry to involve the talents of multiple firms - a design-by-committee approach being favored rather than give the lead to the small Horten team. Manufacture of the aircraft would fall to the Junkers concern which held extensive experience in arranging large aircraft prior to, and during, the war. Other companies thrown into the mix were representatives of Arado and Messerschmitt. Because of the relentless Allied air raids, it was decided to build the prototype in a cave - adding an air of secrecy to the entire program.