Focke-Wulf Projekt II - Nazi Germany, 1943
Detailing the development and operational history of the Focke-Wulf Projekt II Jet-Powered Fighter Proposal.
Entry last updated on 5/26/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Focke-Wulf Projekt II jet-powered fighter emerged from designer Kurt Tank during World War 2 as a design study and nothing more.
Famous German aviation engineer Kurt Tank (designer of the Fw 190 and Ta 153 fighters) fleshed out the Project II ("P.2") as another possible solution for a Luftwaffe single-seat, single-engine jet-powered fighter. The design appeared in June of 1943 and was of a sleek appearance with well-contoured surfaces and elegant lines. As with so many other mid-to-late war German jet fighter projects, the P.2 did not make it past the drawing board.
Tank elected for a mid-mounted wing design which showcased sweepback only along the leading wing edges. The cockpit was situated well-forward of midships and under a two-piece canopy providing the pilot with excellent vision of the upcoming terrain and allowing for a short nosecone assembly to be used. Two large fuel tanks were fitted directly aft of the cockpit, producing a raised dorsal spine which limited vision to the rear of the aircraft. The fuselage was of a rounded shape and tapered at the rear to form the tail unit. This assembly featured a single, rounded vertical fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. Unlike other jet fighter proposals of the period, the P.2 fitted its sole turbojet installation under the fuselage in an effort to provide better access to the system for service and repairs by ground crew. The engine of choice was to be the Junkers Jumo 004B/C turbojet, the same as fitted in the Messerschmitt 262 "Schwalbe" - the world's first operational jet fighter. The undercarriage was of a very modern approach, being tricycle in its general arrangement and fully retractable.
Proposed armament for the P.2 was 2 x 30mm MK 103 or MK 108 series cannons mounted under the cockpit floor, the barrels protruding slightly from the forward fuselage sides. 20mm MG 151/20 cannons would have been set in each wingroot (one gun per position).
Estimated performance specifications included a maximum speed of 528 miles per hour, a range out to 400 miles, and a service ceiling of 40,680 feet. Dimensions included a running length of 9.85 meters, a wingspan of 9.7 meters, and a height of 4.4 meters.
There was some criticism of the P.2 design, particularly in the placement of the engine under the fuselage. There were concerns of the drag imposed on the aircraft as well as the nose landing gear creating a disruption of airflow during landing and take-off actions. Additionally, there would always be the threat of such a low intake opening ingesting random airfield debris, damaging the engine and perhaps rendering it powerless. If the pilot was indeed forced to land the aircraft, especially without use of the undercarriage, the engine presented a unique and awkward challenge when attempting to land the P.2 on its belly. In most cases, this would have meant a total loss of the engine - a rather priceless commodity in resource-strapped Germany.
All of these critiques, however, proved moot for the P.2 was never to see the light of day, ending as just another in the long line of forgotten or overlooked wartime Luftwaffe ventures.