×
Aviation & Aerospace - Airpower 2024 - Aircraft by Country - Aircraft Manufacturers Vehicles & Artillery - Armor 2024 - Armor by Country - Armor Manufacturers Infantry Small Arms - Warfighter 2024 - Small Arms by Country - Arms Manufacturers Warships & Submarines - Navies 2024 - Ships by Country - Shipbuilders U.S. Military Pay 2024 Military Ranks Special Forces by Country

Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter)


Jet-Powered Single-Seat Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft


Nazi Germany | 1945



"The German Heinkel He 162 was of an advanced, single-seat, single jet engine design of World War 2 - it appeared in limited numbers towards the end of the conflict."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/14/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Heinkel He 162 "Volksjager" (the "People's Fighter") was a hasty solution to the German problem of the Allied bombing campaign. The campaign was spearheaded by daylight bombing raids led by the Americans and nighttime incursions led by the British. Into 1944, the campaign had wreaked major havoc on German infrastructure, war production, and worked to demoralized a once-stout fighting nation. It was realized that a counter to these massed formations of heavy bombers, that also included pesky escort fighters, was desperately needed - one that went beyond the capabilities of the limited Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet" rocket-powered interceptor and the complex and expensive Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" jet-powered fighter.

The Requirement

With this in mind, the German Air Ministry finalized specifications for a new single-seat fighter-interceptor on September 8th, 1944. The requirement called for a new, economically-minded, lightweight fighter form that could be mass-produced in short order and use as few war materials as possible. In addition to this, the aircraft would not exceed 4,410lb, require very little maintenance, and very limited training. It was theorized that, with this new fighter, the Luftwaffe could simply overwhelm the Allied bomber formations, either drawing off the fighter escorts to leave the bombers to face ground-based fire or prop-driven interceptors or tackle the bomber combat "boxes" directly. Performance would have to meet or exceed that as offered by the definitive forms of the great Allied fighters, namely the North American P-51 Mustang and the Supermarine Spitfire.

Six of the usual German wartime defense players were notified of the requirement, the list including Arado, Blohm & Voss, Focke-Wulf, Junkers, Heinkel, Horten, and Messerschmitt. The Air Ministry laid down a tight schedule, hoping to have the aircraft ready before the end of 1944 and ready to enter serial production as soon as early-January 1945. Authorities put further pressure on the project to deliver up to 4,000 aircraft per month on a very optimistic manufacturing schedule.

On September 15th, 1944, two designs were selected from the submitted batch, the P.211 belonging to Blohm & Voss and the P.1073 belonging to Heinkel. Between the two, the Heinkel submission also included a mockup which helped to seal the deal and provide the basic framework of what would become the He 162. The He 162 was known to Heinkel engineers as the "Spatz", or "Sparrow", while the project was recognized by the Air Ministry as the "Volksjager" - "People's Fighter". Still others knew the aircraft by the project's codename of "Salamander".

He 162 Walk-Around

This particular Heinkel entry ended up becoming one of the more unique of the jet-powered design forms to emerge from Germany during the last months of the war. It seated its single pilot under a largely-unobstructed, two-piece canopy near the nose and twin autocannons were buried under the frontal section of the fuselage. The fuselage was elegantly shaped for ultimate streamlining, housing all pertinent operating systems such as the cockpit, avionics, and fuel stores. The wing mainplane members were relatively short span-wise and mounted at the shoulder while be positioned near midships. The tail unit, one of the more unique design qualities of the He 162, involved a pair of rudders straddling upward-cranked horizontal planes.

Splitting the fins was the single turbojet housing which was, rather interestingly, fitted over the fuselage as opposed to under it, under the wings, or buried within the fuselage proper. In this way, the engine could be cleanly aspirated from its front-mounted intake and exhausted through its unobstructed rear port, the jet wash made to pass over the split tail arrangement without issue. This also simplified any ductwork from intake to exhaust considerably. The engine-of-choice became the BMW 003E series turbojet which promised an output of around 1,765lb thrust.

To complete this fighter, Heinkel engineers elected for a wholly-retractable tricycle undercarriage for ground-running and all three wheeled members would retract nicely into the fuselage.

Beyond the physical features and inherent capabilities of the lay the other part of the He 162 equation: qualified fighter pilots. By this time in the war veteran Luftwaffe pilots were in short supply due to losses and general wartime fatigue. It was therefore decided to man the new, somewhat disposable, fighter with airmen pulled from the "Hitler Youth". Training would be a short period of intense preparation though sometimes actual combat sorties would make up the lack of classroom experience. This also required making an aircraft that was relatively easy to fly meaning simple controls and a clean instrument panel. To aid in the survivability of the pilot, the He 162 was given a crude form of ejection seat, becoming one of the first military aircraft to offer this potentially life-saving feature.

A first-flight of an He 162 prototype was recorded on December 6th, 1944 and service introduction followed as soon as January 1945 - such was the desperate war situation for Germany. In service, the aircraft proved a handful to fly, even for seasoned pilots, and resulted in deaths both during the testing period as well as during actual service. The airframe was, however, noted as quite rugged and designed to be able to withstand excessive forces of a dive. The dorsally-mounted engine installation was found to not play well with the shoulder-mounted wings, adding unnecessary turbulence in flight particularly at higher speeds.

Article Continues Below Advertisement...
ADVERTISEMENTS
Operational Service and History

The first operational test squadron was formed by the Luftwaffe as soon as January 1945 and this was followed by the first operational combat squadron brought online that February. March was used to perfect training (this done under the constant threat of daily Allied attacks from the air) and the first combat sorties of the He 162 were finally had in April 1944. In-the-field results were mixed: the He 162 held the performance figures to run down any Allied aircraft of the period but were highly susceptible to being shot down on landing approaches. Additionally, structural deficiencies and engine issues were common enough to ensure more He 162s were lost to non-combat causes than those shot down.

The impact of the He 162 was further limited by its late arrival into World War 2 and, as such, the He 162 was never truly able to meet its full potential nor could engineers enact any major changes to rectify its short comings. Eventually, the Soviets closing in from the East and the Allies arriving from the West meant that the completed and incomplete stocks of He 162 all fell into enemy hands. These were then thoroughly evaluated, with great interest, during the immediate post-war years though the design was given up for good rather quickly - ending its days as museum pieces for most.

Total production of the He 162 reached about 320 units (sources vary on the exact numbers) before the end of the war. Of this total, between 120 and 200 examples were actually deemed operational with a further 600 to 800 airframes having reached various stages of production.

Variants, Operational and Proposed

During the course of its short life, the He 162 appeared in several realized, and many proposed, forms. The line began with the original ten pre-production models (He 162A) under the He 162 A-0 designation. Then came the A-1 models with their 2 x 30mm MK 108 cannon arrangement (the guns limited to 50 projectiles each) and the A-2 armed through the more definitive arrangement of 2 x 20mm MG 151/20 autocannons (120 rounds per gun). A models performed at near 490 miles-per-hour and ranged out to 605 miles while reaching a ceiling of 39,000 feet.

The A-3 variant was a proposed He 162 with new, strengthened nose assembly fitting 2 x 30mm MK 108 autocannons. The A-8 was another proposed form powered by a Jumo 004D-4 turbojet engine of 2,300lb thrust set to increase operating speeds to nearly 550 mph. The A-10 was a proposed He 162 dispensing with the turbojet altogether and mounting twin Argus As 014 pulse jet engines instead, these seated over the tail.

The B-1 was to take on the Heinkel HeS 011A turbojet set atop a lengthened fuselage - this would have solved the issue of range, as more internal fuel stores would be fitted, and controlling. The He 162C would have the same changes as the proposed B-1 with the added benefits of a swept-back, "gull-wing" style mainplane configuration to go along with a new "V-style" tailplane. 2 x 30mm autocannons were to make up this variants armament suite, the guns carried in oblique (upward-angled) installations to better engage the more vulnerable undersides of enemy bombers. The He 162D was similar in scope but its mainplanes completely swept forward for a very futuristic appearance (with the hope that handling could be improved). The He 162E was flight-tested with the "BMW 003R", the engine being a mating of the BMW 718 rocket engine with the BMW 003A turbojet engine. The He 162S became a twin-seat glider form used exclusively in training.

The Tachikawa Ki 162 was the last notable proposed form to come the He 162 line, this aircraft a locally-built Japanese interpretation of the German He 162. The aircraft was to be powered by a Lorin ramjet engine alongside an Argus pulsejet for maximum power - though little came of this proposal before war's end.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter) Jet-Powered Single-Seat Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft.
1 x BMW 0030A-1 turbojet engine developing 1,764 lb of thrust.
Propulsion
522 mph
840 kph | 454 kts
Max Speed
39,501 ft
12,040 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
432 miles
695 km | 375 nm
Operational Range
4,200 ft/min
1,280 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter) Jet-Powered Single-Seat Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
29.7 ft
9.05 m
O/A Length
23.6 ft
(7.20 m)
O/A Width
8.4 ft
(2.55 m)
O/A Height
4,519 lb
(2,050 kg)
Empty Weight
5,941 lb
(2,695 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter) Jet-Powered Single-Seat Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft .
STANDARD:
2 x 20mm MG 151 automatic cannons OR 2 x 30mm MK 108 automatic cannons under the nose.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter) family line.
He 162 - Base Series Designation.
He 162A - Base production model designation.
He 162 A-0 - Preproduction Aircraft; 10 examples completed.
He 162 A-1 - Fitted with 2 x 30mm MK 108 automatic cannons.
He 162 A-2 - Fitted with 2 x 20mm MG 151/20 automatic cannons; increased ammunition space.
He 162 A-3 - Proposed model with redesigned nose assembly fitting 2 x 30mm MK 108 automatic cannons.
He 162 A-8 - Fitted with Jumo 004D-4 engine.
He 162 A-10 - Proposed variant dispensing with turbojet engine and mounting twin Argus 014 pulse jet engines over the tail section.
He 162 B-1 - Proposed model; to be fitted with Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011A turbojet engine; elongated fuselage and additional wingspan; improved range and fuel space; 2 x 30mm MK 108 cannons.
He 162C - Proposed Model; based on He 162 B-1 model; Vee-tail; fitted with 2 x MK 108 cannons.
He 162D - Proposed Model; designed with forward-swept wing assembly.
He 162E - Based on the He 162A model; fitted with BMW 003R powerplant featuring liquid-fuel rocket booster; single prototype example.
He 162S - Engine-less twin-seat trainer conversion to be operated as a glider.
Tachikawa Ki 162 - Proposed Japanese He 162; Lorin ramjet engine coupled with Argus pulsejet engine making up the propulsion scheme.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 275 Units

Contractor(s): Heinkel - Germany
National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany

[ Nazi Germany ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (522mph).

Graph Average of 563 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
275
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 3
Image of the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 3
Image of the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter)
Image from the Public Domain.
3 / 3
Image of the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter)
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
INTERCEPTION
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Heinkel He 162 Volksjager (Peoples Fighter) Jet-Powered Single-Seat Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft appears in the following collections:
HOME
AVIATION INDEX
AIRCRAFT BY COUNTRY
AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE AIRCRAFT
AIRCRAFT BY CONFLICT
AIRCRAFT BY TYPE
AIRCRAFT BY DECADE
WWII AIRCRAFT
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.


©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)