Henschel Hs 132 Single-Seat Jet-Powered Dive Bomber Aircraft
The Henschel Hs 132 was intended as a jet-powered dive bomber but only one completed prototype was available before the end of World War 2.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Henschel Hs 132 was another in the long line of ambitious German jet-powered designs under development in the closing years of World War 2 (1939-1945). The aircraft was developed in response to the mounting losses inherent with the plodding, yet still effective, Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers against ever-increasing Soviet fighter presence, the Hs 132 was intended as a jet-powered alternative to the piston-engine design which dated back to the prewar 1930s. Its proposed replacement offered a revolutionary design but never proceeded past the prototype stage by the time the Soviets overran development facilities - only a single prototype was ever completed with three still under construction during the closing months of the conflict in 1945. All three were confiscated by the Soviet invaders.
At its core, the Hs 132 was largely a fundamental design with a well-streamlined and slender fuselage. The nose was capped with the cockpit under large transparent panels for maximum viewing. The tail utilized a traditional split-rudder fin arrangement. The wing mainplanes were straight with dihedral (upward angle) and a tricycle undercarriage was used that was wholly retractable. The most interesting design feature of this aircraft as its fuselage-spine-mounted BMW 109-003E02 turbojet engine which sat above and behind the cockpit, exhausting over the aft section of fuselage making up the empennage. The Hs 132 mimicked much of what made the Heinkel He 162 "Volksjager" such an iconic wartime jet fighter.
Unlike the He 162 - which was developed as a low-cost, low-maintenance point defense fighter - the Hs 132 was developed along the lines of a dive bomber to success the Ju 87 series. Due to the slender design of the fuselage, the pilot was to lay prone in the cockpit - the thought being that a prone man could withstand greater G-forces during a dive upon a target. Proposed armament was to be a single 1,102 pound bomb held under the belly in a recessed area. Fixed armament proposed included 2 x 20mm MG 151 cannons or 2 x 20mm MG 151 cannons with 2 x 30mm MK 103 cannons.
Initial work of the Hs 132 began during 1944 with Henschel submitting their design to authorities. Due to the limitation of certain war-making goods - namely valuable metal - wood construction was to make up a large part of the Hs 132's construction.
Three prototypes eventually emerged: the Hs 132 V1 was the first model and only one of the three to reach a complete stage of construction. The V2 prototype was envisioned to carry the same 1,102 pound drop ordnance but a pair of MG 151 20mm cannons were to be fixed into the fuselage. Similarly, the upcoming V3 prototype was to broaden the V2's armament fit by adding 2 x 30mm MK 103 cannons while retaining the single bomb under the belly.
Of course all of this work fell to naught as Soviet forces closed in and captured the development facilities. This left the Hs 132 to the pages of history and the imagination - a possible potent performance bomber over the battlefields of World War 2 - certainly a much-needed upgrade over the original Ju 87.