Junkers Ju 287 Jet-Powered Heavy Bomber Prototype
The Junkers Ju 287 was one of the more unique green-lighted German jet-powered aircraft projects to appear during World War 2.
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The Junkers Ju 287 certainly proved one of the most unique of the approved late-war, jet-powered designs for the German nation - now fighting a war on multiple fronts. The aircraft was intended as a high-speed heavy bomber which strayed away from previous conventional German thinking of the time which leaned towards light-to-medium-weight bomber projects - though a focus on fast bombers still remained at this point. Indeed, the German Luftwaffe fielded a limited collection of four-engined bombers during the war and this proved a strategic and tactical limitation throughout 1944 and into 1945.
Hans Wocke worked for Junkers and, in 1943, proposed a swept-forward wing concept for a fast jet bomber capable of outrunning any known enemy air defenses - including interceptors and ground-based cannon networks. The use of a forward-swept-wing, Wocke argued, would promote improved high-speed qualities and improve on low-speed handling when compared to straight-wing, jet-powered designs being regularly put forth. Design of the Ju 287 was headed by Ernst Zindel.
The new Junkers product was conceived in one working prototype and, to expedite its development, borrowed whole components from existing aircraft. The nosewheel was from an American Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bomber while the main wheels emerged from a Junkers Ju 352 "Herkules" transport. The Junkers Ju 388 "Stortebeker" heavy fighter made up a large portion of the empennage while the fuselage was taken from the Heinkel He 177 "Grief" heavy bomber.