Arado Ar E.580 (Volksjager)
Single-Seat Jet Fighter Proposal
The Arado Ar E.580 single-seat jet-powered fighter competed unsuccessfully against the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager design.
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Once the Volksjager competition came around in 1944, Arado Flugzeugwerke went back to a 1943 design and added revisions to produce E.580 product. At its core, the aircraft became a single-seat, single-engined jet fighter design to help in the defense of the Third Reich, part of an effort by the Germans to eventually turn the tide of the Allied advance during World War 2 (1939-1945). The aircraft was developed along the lines of simplicity in both construction methodology and general operation/maintenance. The E.580 was to serve as Arado's answer for the new RLM requirement - a contract eventually secured by the competing firm of Heinkel with its He 162 submission.
Outwardly, the E.580 shared some broad similarities to the Heinkel design. As in the Heinkel He 162, the engine of the E.580 series sat atop the fuselage, well-contoured into the fuselage. The wing assemblies were unswept and all armament was to be kept concentrated in the nose. A wholly-retractable tricycle undercarriage was featured and the empennage was made up of a split-vertical fin arrangement. The powerplant of choice became the BMW 003A-1 series turbojet. How this layout would have eventually fared in practice created some skepticism as the raised canopy ahead of the intake opening would have, no doubt, obstructed airflow. Armament was never finalized but proposed weaponry would have been either a pair of MK 108 30mm cannons or MG 151/20 20mm cannons. In either case, these would have been situated in the extreme forward section of the nose assembly and were potent enough to contend with both fighter and bomber targets alike.
The Heinkel He 162 eventually won the competition, proving a more design on paper - it went on to seeing limited production before the end of the war in 1945. Regardless, both designs stood as early forays into single-engine jet fighters which soon took hold as the norm heading into the 1950s. The capabilities of the E.380 can only be left to the imagination.