Arado Ar E.555 Long-Range / High-Speed Jet-Powered Bomber
Development into the Arado Ar E.555 series was halted in December of 1944, no doubt due to the advance of the Allies on the ground.
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Arado proposed this E.555 flying wing concept towards the end of 1943 as a high-speed long-range bomber. The flying wing concept had eluded aircraft engineers for decades but it was seen as a potentionally stable design allowing for greater payloads and control. Arado produced no fewer than 15 flying wing E.555 designs of various types for the RLM throughout 1944 - each with considerable groundbreaking features.
The base E.555 was the E.555-1, an all-metal flying wing concept with a delta shape. Two large vertical fin surfaces were attached to either wing assembly with the fuselage contained in the forward-most portion of the gull-like wing assemblies. The engines were to be a cluster of six BMW 003A series turbojets held slightly off of the fuselage and maintained in the aft area of the design. Requirements stated that this new bomber possess the ability to carry upwards of 8,818lbs and thusly the E.555-1 was designed with a large under-fuselage internal bomb bay. The flying wing concept also played well into the design requirement of long range, needing to meet some 3,107 miles of flight time. The cockpit was pressurized to allow for high altitude work. It is assumed no fewer than 3 personnel would crew the system as there was a need for a pilot, copilot, and at least one gunner. Landing gears were of the tricycle type now beginning to take hold in newer aircraft designs. The E.555 would have utilized such a layout with the wing-installed gears were tandem for a total of four wheels to a gear. The nose gear was of a single arrangement mounting two wheels side-by-side.
Defensive armament consisted of a remote-controlled dorsal turret mounting twin MG 151/20 20mm cannons. This turret was located just aft of the cockpit and had a 360 degree rotation plus elevation. A second turret was mounted at the rear of the fuselage/wing area and was remote-controlled by a crewmember via periscope. This position also mounted twin MG 151/20 20mm cannons and the gunner sat in his position just aft of the dorsal turret behind the cockpit. Fixed forward-firing MK 103 30mm cannons were added to either wing root (one cannon per side) to round out the armament.
The E.555 was planned in many forms covering E.555-1 to E.555-11 (14). Each version differed mainly in powerplant used, either of BMW or Heinkel branding. Beyond that, the wing design changed somewhat between designs and some were featured with twin tail booms or a traditional empennage as opposed to the base flying wing originally envisioned. E.555-1 featured 6 x BMW 003 series turbojet engines, all mounted in a cluster above and at the extreme aft of the fuselage. E.555-2 was to be fitted with just four turbojet engines but these of Heinkel brand (He S 011). E.555-3 was designed with 2 x BMW 018 series engines while E.555-4 saw 3 x BMW 018 fitted. E.555-6 also had 3 x BMW 018 engines but featured a redesign of the wing elements. E.555-7 followed along the lines of the E.555-1 design but had 3 x BMW 018 engines instead of six with some subtle changes to the wing area. E.555-8a/8b saw a more radical take on the E.555 series design as a whole. It featured a swept-back wing surface area but twin tail booms ala the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, joined the ends by a single horizontal surface. E.555-9 was similar to this but the booms were not connect at the ends and featured outboard elevators. E.555-10 was similar to -9 but had outboard and inboard elevators to each tail boom end. E.555-11 was perhaps the most modern of all the E.555 design attempts as a complete traditional tail section was used with the 4 x BMW 018 engines all mounted atop the fuselage along the middle of the fusleage. Wings were still kept as swept-back. Along with the base E.555-1, the E.555-11 was perhaps the design with most promise.
By the end of 1944, the RLM gave up on the E.555 and ordered Arado to do the same. It is assumed because of the strides made by the Allies in capturing more and more German strongholds that resources needed to be put into a defensive war consisting primarily of fighters than bombers. Seeing it that the E.555's primary role was that of bomber and little else, there was no need to continually put more time, money and effort into a system that was limited in scope for the type of war Germany needed to fight by 1945.