Blohm and Voss Bv P.188 Jet-Powered Heavy Bomber Proposal
The P.188 was a jet-powered proposal submitted by Blohm and Voss as a possible German frontline heavy bomber.
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Blohm & Voss delivered many futuristic-looking aircraft for consideration by the German Air Ministry during World War 2 - however few of these designs materialized into a useful wartime product. Such was the case with the Bv P.188, a jet-powered bomber project intended to succeed the then-current stable of prop-powered German bombers. The German bomber force lacked true heavy-hitters like the British Lancasters and American Flying Fortresses and Liberators as the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor became the only viable four-engine type for the German Luftwaffe.
The P.188 was brought about due to the growing lack of faith in the Heinkel He 177 heavy bomber design. This project suffered from its unique conjoined engine arrangement which doomed it to just 1,169 production examples during wartime and the bomber never made its promised imprint on the war. Since the Arado Ar 234 "Blitz" jet-powered bomber had already flown in June of 1943, and made its mark as a very-fast bombing platform, the German Luftwaffe began to embrace a future where all of its bombers would be powered by turbojet technology.
From this thinking the Air Ministry drew up a new heavy bomber specification to be powered solely by jet technology. The turbojets would provide the necessary speed to keep the aircraft out of danger from ground-based fire and aerial interceptors and there would be enough power to carry a considerable war load over distance. Blohm & Voss returned with their P.188 development while competing firm Junkers pushed their forward-swept-wing Ju 287 design (detailed elsewhere on this site).
The P.188 was unique in its own right - definitely in line with other Blohm & Voss entries of the war. It was the wing mainplanes that set the design apart - an inner and outer section was used in which the inner span was swept rearwards and the outer span swept forwards. The idea was to combine the benefits of both rearward and forward swept wings into one mainplane - this based on research and data collected by Blohm & Voss engineers. The inner span held 20-degree sweepback.
Beyond this rather futuristic quality, the P.188 sported a rather conventional streamlined fuselage that was glazed at its nose and tapered at its tail. The tail unit utilized a single vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes. The cockpit, seating two, was fitted to the nose with unobstructed views of the action ahead. The undercarriage would be of a bicycle arrangement in which the double-wheeled main legs, one sitting fore and the other aft of the centralized bomb bay, retracted directly up into the airframe. Outrigger legs would support the aircraft at the wings during ground-running and retract into the forward-swept wing sections. Engine nacelles were to be featured under each wing.