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Focke-Wulf Fw 187 Falke (Falcon) Heavy Escort Fighter

The Focke-Wulf design of the Fw 187 Falcon compared favorably in most respects to the Messerschmitt Bf 110 design - but was not ordered in quantity.

 Updated: 7/29/2015; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

Despite demonstrating some impressive performance statistics from underpowered engines, the Focke-Wulf product Fw 187 Falke (or "Falcon") never materialized into a production quantity models. Similar in design and reach to the Messerschmitt Bf 110, the Fw 187 was seen as more of a "tweener" type aircraft - neither a fighter or a true dedicated destroyer despite some very obvious benefits in the aircraft. Nevertheless the design is noteworthy in that is was a capable system with formidable firepower, good handling characteristics and, with only a few production aircraft delivered, saw action in the defense of a local Bremen Focke-Wulf plant.

Design of the Fw 187 was conventional for a twin-engine fighter type of the times. The ever-increasing power of piston engines allowed for more radical airframe designs thus giving birth to the multi-engine fighter philosophy. the Fw 187 featured twin Junkers Jumo 12-cylinder engines straddling either side of the cockpit and mounted low on low-monoplane wings. Upward and directional visibility was deemed good with the extreme-forward cockpit positioning done in only by the wing area and engines. The green-house style cockpit sat in a slender and longish fuselage which ended in a traditional T-type empennage. The powerful offensive armament of the aircraft was a mix of cannon and machine guns culminating in a battery of 2 x 20mm cannons and an array of 4 x 7.92mm machines - a formidable armament certainly capable of bringing down any bomber or fighter alike.

Performance from the Jumo engines was better than expected with a top reported speed of 329 miles per hour. The achievable service ceiling was well above 32,000 feet though the optimal operating range for the aircraft is unknown in many sources. Despite these statistics, the Fw 187 was done in by the internal workings of the RLM and thusly the Messerschmitt BF 110 "Destroyer" was green-lighted against the Fw 187 design. Only three of the seven ordered Fw 187A-0 pre-production models were delivered.

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Focke-Wulf Fw 187A-0 Falke (Falcon) Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1937
Type: Heavy Escort Fighter
National Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer(s): Focke-Wulf - Germany
Production Total: 9

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 2
Overall Length: 36.42 feet (11.1 meters)
Overall Width: 50.20 feet (15.30 meters)
Overall Height: 12.63 feet (3.85 meters)

Weight (Empty): 8,157 lb (3,700 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 11,023 lb (5,000 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 2 x Junkers Jumo 210Ga 12-cylinder engines developing 700 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 329 mph (529 kph; 286 knots)
Service Ceiling: 32,808 feet (10,000 meters; 6.21 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 3,445 feet-per-minute (1,050 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 20mm MG FF cannons
4 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns

Global Operators / Customers

Nazi Germany

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

Fw 187V-1 - Developmental Model
Fw 187V-2 - Developmental Model
Fw 187V-3 - Developmental Model; would lead to pre-production design model.
Fw 187V-4 - Developmental Model
Fw 187V-5 - Developmental Model
Fw 187V-6 - Developmental Model
Fw 187A-0 - Pre-Production Designation of which seven were ordered but only 3 placed into service; based on the Fw 187V-3 developmental model.