The Helwan HA-300 interceptor was designed by German Willy Messerschmitt for Spain and ultimately built in Egypt before being cancelled.
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Germany's defeat in World War 2 (1939-1945) meant that its military-industrial capability was heavily reduced to the point that many prominent defense industry personnel were forced to seek viable employment elsewhere. Such was the fate had by Willy Messerschmitt whose company designed some of the most recognizable aircraft of the period in the classic Bf 109 single-engine fighter and the Bf 110 twin-engine heavy fighter. The climax of Messerschmitt involvement in the conflict became their famous Me 262 "Schwalbe", the world's first operational jet-powered fighter.
Messerschmitt eventually moved to Spain where he lent his talents to Hispano Aviacion. Once there, he undertook a new delta-wing-shaped, single-seat, single engine aircraft design of lightweight quality and supersonic capability. Work began in 1951 and ended with an incomplete plywood glider mockup being flight tested by tow cable behind a medium bomber / transport the Heinkel He 111-based CASA .111). However, the program saw its funding dropped by the Spanish government in 1960.
Messerschmitt and his team were invited to Egypt to continue work on the type as an interceptor for the Egyptian Air Force. Egypt, meanwhile, was attempting to grow its own military-industrial complex and continue to move away on its reliance with Europe. The Messerschmitt team relocated to Helwan to work at Factory No.36 while under the direction of the Egyptian General Aero Organization (EGAO). In due time, the projected interceptor came to be known as the "Helwan Aircraft 300" - or "HA-300". The intended powerplant was the Bristol Siddeley Orpheus BOr 12 turbojet which offered afterburn capability. Work on the Egyptian interceptor began in 1959
The design team produced a most sleek form that featured a well-pointed nosecone, slim fuselage and mid-mounted delta wing mainplanes. A single vertical tail fin was seated over the engine and horizontal tailplanes were low-mounted along the fuselage aft sides. The pilot sat under a two-piece canopy with views to the rear obstructed by the raised fuselage spine. The sole powerplant buried within the fuselage was aspirated by a pair of half-moon intakes along the walls of the cockpit. A very modern design for its time, the HA-300 was a far cry from the wartime Me 262 and looked more the part of post-war French fighter. A tricycle undercarriage rounded out the list of features.
Intended armament was a fixed pairing of 30mm Hispano cannons for close-in work. There would be underwing provision for up to 4 x infrared Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs). Speed would become the defining defensive quality of the aircraft.
When the expected Orpheus engine failed to meet its projected performance goals, Ferdinand Brandner (1903-1986) of Austria was brought in to help develop a new powerplant. This became the Brandner E-300 of 10,582 thrust output with reheat and first ran in July of 1963.
The initial prototype went airborne on March 7th, 1964 with a Bristol Siddeley Orpheus Mk 703-S-10 turbojet while the E-300 lay in development. The Indian government moved in to fund the engine campaign so as to be allowed to use the same engine in the new HAL HF-24 "Marut" fighter being developed for Indian Air Force (IAF) service. Flight development then involved Egyptian pilots arriving in India in 1964. This was followed by the recorded first flight of a second prototype on July 22nd, 1965.
Despite the ongoing work, the program came to halt in May of 1969 as the Egyptian government terminated its participation in the program for political and funding reasons, leaving the Egyptian Air Force without its coveted homegrown interceptor. The Indian Marut moved along with its twin Bristol Siddeley Orpheus Mk 703 turbojet arrangement while the last of the HA-300 development, the production-minded third prototype fitted with its E-300 engine, made taxi trials in November of 1969. This was about the extent of further work on the line for no formal flight testing followed.
With the loss of the HA-300, the Egyptian Air Force settled on purchase of proven Soviet fighters instead. Three prototypes were all that was realized out of the HA-300 program.
[ 3 Units ] : Egyptian General Aero Organization (EGAO) / Hispano Aviacion - Spain
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