Blohm and Voss Bv P.194 Ground Attack / Tactical Bomber Proposal
The Blohm and Voss P.194 aircraft proposal of World War 2 joined many other ultimately-abandoned aircraft initiatives by the company.
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Despite the successes encountered by the German Luftwaffe with their famous Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers in the early phases of World War 2 (1939-1945), the system was becoming obsolete by the middle war years and a search for a successor was all but inevitable. This led to a new RLM requirement of February 1944 which called for a tactical multi-role bomber capable of reproducing the combat results of the aging Ju 87. Blohm and Voss submitted several designs for the requirement and one of these became the P.194. Like so many other B&V submissions for Luftwaffe consideration, the P.194 was from the mind of aviation engineer Richard Vogt.
B&V designs became some of the more unorthodox aircraft designs of the war with Vogt's chief achievement of this lot becoming the "asymmetric" Bv 141. The Bv 141 took on a highly unconventional arrangement in which the aircraft utilized a typical tubular fuselage housing the engine while a separate nacelle was used to house the cockpit. The fuselage and cockpit were both offset from the centerline, the fuselage to portside and the cockpit to starboard. A wing mainplane was driven through the design and provided traditional function for the aircraft. The empennage was attached to the unmanned fuselage portion and displayed a single horizontal plane (set to portside) as well as a single vertical tail fin. The result became what was believed to be a better-balanced aircraft and, despite its radical design, some 28 of the type were believed to have been constructed. The aircraft first flew on February 25th, 1938 and was adopted in limited number for the light bomber / reconnaissance role. Its restricted production reach was largely due to the availability of the engine required but, other that this, the asymmetric design was proven sound enough for military service. The aircraft was also directly challenged by the more conventional Focke-Wulf Fw 189 "Eagle Owl ("Uhu")", a twin-engine, twin-boom offering of which 864 were eventually procured by the Luftwaffe.
With this in mind, the groundwork for the P.194 was laid. The new aircraft was given largely the same asymmetric treatment and involved an offset main fuselage (to portside) housing the engine and tail unit. Unlike the Bv 141, the P.194 was to use a "combination" propulsion scheme involving a conventional "puller" engine at the front of the fuselage and a turbojet engine fitted to the starboard side nacelle. This starboard nacelle was to also showcase the cockpit and fixed standard armament. The conventional engine was to be a BMW 801D 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine of 1,600 horsepower fitted to the extreme front section of the fuselage. The turbojet installation became a Junkers Jumo 109-004 engine with 2,000 pounds of output power. The tail unit, found on the fuselage tube, was a conventional arrangement with single fin structure and a pair of mid-mounted tailplanes.
The P.194 was to carry a single crewmember in the cockpit nacelle. The wing mainplane, a straight assembly with clipped tips, ran through both the fuselage tube and the cockpit nacelle. The cockpit was set at the front of the nacelle with armament below and the turbojet engine to also reside in this structure. Thusly, the main fuselage could be reserved for the conventional powerplant, required fuel stores, and an internal bomb bay. A "tail-dragger" wheeled and retractable undercarriage was intended for the aircraft. Dimensions included a length of 12 meters, a wingspan of 15.3 meters, and a height of 3.7 meters. Empty weight was estimated at 14,330 pounds with a gross weight of 20,615 pounds.
Proposed armament, to help fulfill the ground attack requirement, was 2 x 30mm MK 103 cannons paired with 2 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons - all concentrated in the cockpit nacelle. For bombing runs, the aircraft was designed to carry up to 1,100 pounds of bombs through the internal bomb bay found in the fuselage. It is possible that the aircraft could have also carried externally-mounted stores such as rockets under the wings.
Blohm and Voss drew up several variants for the P.194 project and this included the P.194.00-101 with its 52-foot wingspan. The intake opening for the turbojet engine resided under the cockpit. The P.194.01-02 emerged with a 50-foot wingspan and featured a more useful bubble canopy. The P.194.02-01 was to fit the turbojet under the cockpit as opposed to behind it. P.194.03-01 installed the turbojet intakes at the wing roots to either side of the cockpit nacelle and also feature a 50-foot wingspan with bubble canopy.
Because the P.194 proposal fell to naught and no working prototypes were ever realized, performance specifications were purely estimated - a maximum speed of 485 miles per hour, a range out to 665 miles, and a service ceiling of 36,420 feet. The RLM went on to favor a competing Messerschmitt design and this went on to become the famous Me 262 "Schwalbe" - the world's first jet-powered fighter.