1944 presented a myriad of problems for the Germans during World War 2 (1939-1945). Such was the pain from Allied air superiority that several measures were enacted to help stem losses - including a heavy commitment to development of rocket- and turbojet-powered fighters and interceptors. One of the more unique design approaches witnessed from the work of German aviation engineers was in the application of forward-swept wings through some of the seriously-considered aircraft designs. One of the most famous of these applications became the Junkers Ju 287 bomber (detailed elsewhere on this site) which ended the war as nothing more than a prototype while one of the lesser known of the forward-sweep submissions became Dr. Richard Vogt's "Project 209" fighter under the Blohm and Voss brand label.
Work on the new compact fighter was spawned from a German Air Ministry directive which brought together the might of the local aviation industry in one meeting - its goal to solve the requirement for a high-speed fighter (a "Schnelljager"). Simplicity remained key so a single pilot would be committed to operating the aircraft and a sole turbojet engine was to provide the needed propulsion. All other facets could be designed freely by engineers though attention to what war materials were available to builders should remain a key consideration going forward. It was hoped by the Air Ministry that the companies - which included Blohm and Voss, Focke-Wulf, Heinkel and Messerschmitt - would come to an agreement about the general design direction this fighter would take though the Air Ministry would also entertain solo submissions from each company directly if need be. The engine of choice became the Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 series turbojet of 2,865 pounds thrust.
Vogt and his team drew up plans for such an aircraft and delivered their proposal on November 13th, 1944. Two proposed models emerged - the P.209.1 and the P.209.2:
The P.209.1 was given a short, tear-drop-shaped fuselage with the cockpit well-forward under a simple two-piece bubble-style canopy. The engine intake made up the cut-off nose with the exhaust port a short distance aft. No true tail unit was used making this a true "tailless aircraft". The wing mainplanes were of particular note for they were low-mounted and swept back with a downward crank of their tips. The undercarriage was to be a rather modern tricycle offering and armament centered on up to 3 x 30mm MK 108 cannons fitted around the lip of the intake opening. Maximum speed was estimated at 560 miles per hour.
The second submission, P.209.2, was a far greater departure though it retained the nose-mounted intake, pilot's placement, and tricycle undercarriage of the P.209.1. It was given a deeper fuselage (holding more internal fuel volume) with a tail stem sat over the engine exhaust port. The tail unit consisted of a single vertical tail fin with low-mounted horizontal planes and these planes showcased some slight anhedral (downward angle) while all tailplane surfaces were swept back. The engine housing terminated well before the end of the aircraft, exhausting at the base of the tail stem structure. The major difference seen in the P.209.2 came in the wing mainplanes which were now forward-swept at 35-degree angles. Dr. Vogt believed these to be a good solution to combating compressibility, the change in density of the air surrounding the aircraft, particularly in high-speed flight envelopes. Additional benefits would come from increased stability, spin recovery, and reduced stress of the wing members allowing for lighter-weight wings to be instituted. Dimensions included a length of 8.8 meters with a wingspan of 8.1 meters with a height of 3.2 meters. Vogt estimated his little aircraft could achieve up to 615 miles per hour at up to 30,000 feet altitudes in this configuration. Rate-of-climb was estimated at 1,550 feet per minute and its service ceiling would have reached 39,700 feet.
Neither design was selected for further work as the Air Ministry had little time to work with as the war drew to a close in May of 1945. A prototype was in the very-early construction stages prior to the end of the war but little else came from the initiative.
Production 0 Units
Blohm and Voss - Nazi Germany
- X-Plane / Developmental
28.87 ft (8.8 m)
26.57 ft (8.1 m)
10.50 ft (3.2 m)
5,897 lb (2,675 kg)
19,897 lb (9,025 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Blohm and Voss Bv P.209.02 production model)
1 x Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011A turbojet engine developing 2,855 lb of thrust.
615 mph (990 kph; 535 kts)
39,698 feet (12,100 m; 7.52 miles)
404 miles (650 km; 351 nm)
1,550 ft/min (472 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Blohm and Voss Bv P.209.02 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
2 OR 3 x 30mm MK 108 cannons in forward fuselage
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Blohm and Voss Bv P.209.02 production model)
P.209 - Base Project Designation
P.209.1 - First proposal as tailless fighter design; swept-back wings with down-turned tips.
P.209.2 - Second proposal featuring forward-swept wing mainplanes and traditional tail unit.
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