Focke-Wulf Ta 183 (Huckebein) Jet-Powered Single-Seat Fighter / Interceptor
The Focke-Wulf Ta 183 only managed to reach prototype stage before the end of the war in Europe during May of 1945.
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By late in World War 2, German authorities had already made a stout commitment to the production of fighters over bombers. Seeing it that she would be fighting more or less a defensive-minded war for some time to come, models such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf 190 were evermore the important element to sustaining the German cause. It was therefore no surprise that the emphasis was also later placed on jet-powered fighter designs when the first rocket and turbojet-powered engines were being successfully tested. The Ta 183 design - a fighter design appearing on drawing boards as early as 1942 - was revisited and furthered once another Focke-Wulf fighter project, known simply as "Project VII", was officially rejected by the RLM. However, a pressed Germany meant that the Ta 183 "Huckebein" would only reach the design stage by the end of World War 2 in Europe.
The Ta 183 was intended to supplant all front-line fighters then in Luftwaffe service including the relatively new, first-generation, jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" and Heinkel He 162 "Volksjager" fighters. The Ta 183 was designed by a Kurt Tank team, led by talented engineer Hans Multhopp, in response to an RLM initiative calling for a highly-capable jet-powered fighter as part of its evolving "Emergency Fighter Program". Tank, serving as a long-time engineering at Focke-Wulf and having proved his worth to the firm, was allowed use of the first two letters of his last name in the designation of several late-war aircraft (to include the production Ta-152 high-altitude fighter, a variant of his successful Fw 190 fighter). However, the war would end before the impressive Ta 183 would even see the light of day - limiting the aircraft to several advanced wind tunnel models for evaluation.
The design of the Ta 183 was quite revolutionary and featured a nose-mounted intake running underneath the bubble canopy cockpit. Swept-back wings of 40 degrees, tricycle undercarriage and an identifiable high-mounted T-tail system were also part of the advanced look. The pilot sat firmly entrenched in a center-positioned cockpit area just aft of the nose intake and above the forward-placed, mid-mounted monoplane wings. The engine - a single Heinkel HeS 011 series turbojet of 3,500lbf - exited just at the base of the empennage. Overall, the design took on a sleek, nimble look with capabilities seemingly limited only by the imagination. The base armament would have been a battery of heavy caliber 4 x Mk 108 series 30mm cannons, all mounted in the nose - capable of attacking fighter or bomber with equal fervor. Ordnance capabilities would have included up to 1,000 pounds of external munitions for the strike fighter role - the centerline fuselage position would have allowed for semi-recessed ordnance while, overall, some five hardpoints could be assigned depending on individual munitions load.