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Junkers Ju 187

Nazi Germany (1943)
Picture of Junkers Ju 187 Dive Bomber
Picture of Junkers Ju 187 Dive Bomber

The abandoned Junkers Ju 187 was intended to replace the much-feared - though outclassed - Ju 87 Stuka in the dive bombing role for the German Luftwaffe.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Junkers Ju 187 Dive Bomber.  Entry last updated on 6/26/2012. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Throughout the latter half of the 1930s and into the early 1940s, the Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bomber asserted itself as one of the more feared German Luftwaffe aircraft in the skies over Europe. The type was used to great effect in the German assaults against Poland, Norway, the Low Countries and France before attention turned to the invasion of Britain. It also played a role in the German invasion of the Soviet Union through Operation Barbarossa to begin the "East Front" as well as strikes against targets in North Africa and across the Mediterranean Theater. While the type proved itself more that capable for its intended role, its effectiveness waned in the wake of direct combat with intercepting enemy fighters serving to showcase its obvious vulnerabilities on a grand stage - particularly during the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. As it stood, the Ju 87 was a slow, unmaneuverable mount with severely limited defensive capabilities.

As such, the Junkers concern was charged with development of a similar-minded modern dive bomber, incorporating some of the excellent qualities inherent in the Ju 87 system. Key to this was retaining the two-man crew arrangement (including the rear gunner) and the identifiable inverted "gull-wing" wing design (sporting both anhedral and dihedral angles). A new fuselage design was drawn up which utilized a sloped frontal section offering up improved downward views over the engine mounting. The cockpit was centralized along the fuselage dorsal spine and a tapered empennage employed. Both the wings and fuselage would be called upon to bear the brunt of the intended bomb load. As in the Ju 87, the new design would make use of a rear gunner to defend the aircraft's vulnerable "six" region. A three-bladed propeller would be powered by a front-mounted Junkers Jumo 213A series 12-cylinder inverted-vee inline piston engine rated at 1,776 horsepower (this engine already in production and serving Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters and Junkers Ju 88 bombers). Overall dimensions included a wingspan of nearly 60 feet with a running length of 38.8 feet. The two crew would be seated in tandem (back-to-back) under an enclosed, framed cockpit. Armor would feature into the design to help protect the crew, engine and fuel stores from low-lying threats. The fuselage would be constructed of an all-metal substructure and skin.

Proposed fixed armament became a pair of 20mm MG 151/20 series cannons firing from the wing roots. Additionally, a 13mm MG 131 series machine gun as well as a 15mm MG 151/15 series cannon would be mounted to a dorsal turret at the rear. In terms of bomb load, the Ju 187 would be expected to carry a 1,100lb bomb along its fuselage centerline as well as smaller diameter bombs underwing for a most impressive and well-armed dive bomber design.

Key refinements greeted the new aircraft which was ultimately assigned the designation of "Ju 187". Unlike the Ju 87 before it, the Ju 187 was to be completed with a retractable undercarriage to help increase airflow and improve aerodynamics. This was of a traditional configuration involving two main landing gear legs and a tail wheel. One of the more ambitious aspects of the Ju 187 design was to be its "rotating" tail section which, when fixed in place, acted as a normal empennage unit. However, the rotating nature of its design would allow the tail section to point the vertical tail fin downwards (preserving the horizontal tail planes), allowing for unfettered views of oncoming enemy from the rear gunner's seat - thusly providing for an unobstructed firing arc and improving self-defense capabilities of the aircraft.

Work on the project was begun and wind tunnel testing on several model forms was underway. A full size mockup was also under construction when, in 1943, the Reich Air Ministry canceled the Ju 187 project. Apparently, the projected maximum speed of the fully bomb-laden aircraft was never expected to exceed that of the existing Ju 87s in service by much and, when coupled with the technological barrier presented by the rotating tail unit, the program projected too many questions to allow for further funding and development. The Ju 187 project was further hindered by the fact that the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters - available in larger quantities by this point in the war - had been successfully converted to capable dive bombers in their own right, thusly negating the need for a new, costly and dedicated dive bomber design.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (249mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Junkers Ju 187's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
0
0


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: Nazi Germany
Year: 1943
Type: Dive Bomber
Manufacturer(s): Junkers - Nazi Germany
Production: 0
Global Operators:
Nazi Germany
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Junkers Ju 187 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
38.71 ft


Meters
11.8 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
59.25 ft


Meters
18.06 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.80 ft


Meters
3.9 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
9,921 lb


Kilograms
4,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
16,535 lb


Kilograms
7,500 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Junkers Jumo 213A 12-cylinder inverted-vee inline piston engine developing 1,776 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
249 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
400 kph


Knots
216 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,087 mi


Kilometers
1,750 km


Nautical Miles
945 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
24,606 ft


Meters
7,500 m


Miles
4.66 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (5):

PROPOSED:
2 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons in wing roots
1 x 13mm MG 131 machine guns in dorsal turret
1 x 15mm MG 151/15 cannon in dorsal turret

OPTIONAL (proposed):
1 x 1,100lb bomb in semi-recessed bay underfuselage centerline and smaller diameter bombs held underwing.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ju 187 - Proposed Series Designation