Dornier Do P.254 (Do 535 / He 535) - Nazi Germany, 1945
Detailing the development and operational history of the Dornier Do P.254 (Do 535 / He 535) Mixed-Propulsion Heavy Fighter Aircraft Proposal.
Entry last updated on 1/22/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Dornier P.254 project was a mixed-powerplant version of the Do 335 Arrow heavy fighter - it did not proceed beyond the paper stage.
The Dornier Do P.254 project existed as a short-lived outgrowth of the Do 335 "Pfeil" ("Arrow") heavy fighter program. In the Do 335, an engine was fitted to the nose of the aircraft in the usual way ("puller" arrangement) but the airframe also made room aft for carrying a second engine, driving a propeller unit at the tail in a "pusher" arrangement. The combined powerplants made the Do 335 the fastest prop-driven aircraft to come out of Germany in World War 2. However, engine delays led to limited operational examples before the end of the war in 1945 and only thirty-seven or so were delivered. The aircraft project was also eclipsed by the Focke-Wulf Ta 152 high-altitude fighter.
The P.254 (Do 535) was to benefit from the foundation laid in the Do 335 in keeping the nose-mounted Daimler-Benz DB603A piston engine at the nose but substitute the tail propulsion system for a Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine for an additional thrust output of 2,866lb. Theoretically, the P.254 would become an even faster prop-driven system than the Do 335 but it lacked swept-back wings benefitting flight at higher speeds. With the German Air Ministry favoring the more conventional, competing Ta 152 high-altitude fighter, Dornier engineers hoped the addition of a jet engine to their Do 335 would keep the promising heavy fighter program alive for a time longer.
It is unclear what over-battlefield role the P.254 would have had upon reaching operation service but it may have been in line with the usual German late-war push for viable fighters, interceptors and night-fighters needed to content with the Allied day-night bombing campaigns. There was most likely a secondary role of high-speed bombing to be built in.
Despite the venture, no P.254 aircraft were built from the existing Do 335 design and the program was eventually dropped from serious consideration - but not before being passed on to Heinkel during October of 1944 and recast as the He 535.