While the Heinkel He 177 "Greif" long-range heavy bomber became a troublesome bomber design, it was still produced across 1,169 examples during World War 2 (1939-1945). It was done in by engine difficulties that proved them prone to fires - each engine nacelle paired two engines. Despite work on the large bomber continuing for the Luftwaffe, it was becoming increasingly clear to most involved that the aircraft would never live up to expectations heading into 1944.
As such a new 1943 medium/heavy "fast bomber" requirement was put forth by the RLM (German Air Ministry). As several of the major German aircraft firms already having been experimenting on turbojet-powered solutions this meant that the new bomber could be powered by the burgeoning technology which offered better performance over existing propeller-driven bomber forms then in service. The piston-powered engine was to meet its apex by the end of the war, spurring feverish development of turbojets and rocket-powered aircraft types which resulted in a myriad of Luftwaffe projects - many never to see the light of day.
The new bomber was more or less intended as a replacement for the troublesome He 177 design. Even with the deteriorating war situation for Germany - now pushed into a defensive war along several fronts - and evermore limited supplies of war materials, the RLM pushed ahead the costly requirement at a time when fast, high-flying fighters would have made more sense. German aviation concerns, of course, jumped at the chance to secure another potentially lucrative contract by supplying the Luftwaffe their next big idea.
The RLM requirement was relatively straight forward resulting in the project designation of "3x1000". The new aircraft would have a minimum top speed of 1,000 kmh with an operational range out to 1,000 kilometers while being able to carry at least a 1,000 kilogram war load (1000x1000x1000). The storied concern of Focke-Wulf - makers of the famous Fw 190 piston-engine fighter of the war - returned with three designs to help fulfill the requirement. The Fw 3x1000A looked the part of 1950s jet bomber with its rounded airframe, swept-back, mid-mounted wing mainplanes, and traditional single-finned tail unit. It carried its twin turbojet engines in nacelles hung under each wing. The Fw 3x1000B model followed suit and deviated through high-mounted wings and a deeper fuselage. Both were to be powered by Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 series turbojets.
Focke-Wulf designs reworked the aircraft with their third offering - the 3x1000C - this model centering on an all-wing, delta-shaped planform which promised the necessary operating speed, operating range, and bomb-carrying capability required by the RLM. The cockpit was held in a heavily-glazed nose section that jutted out at front and the twin turbojets were buried within the body of the bomber. Due to the operating altitudes involved, the cockpit would be pressurized. The mainplane was blended into the body and no vertical tail surfaces were used. Instead, downward-turned wingtips served the role of vertical surfaces. The wing leading edges were well-swept while the trailing edges were horizontal at the engine exhaust areas and only slightly swept at the outboard wing sections. An internal bomb load would be used to carry ordnance and reduce drag. The blended body/wing approach allowed for much greater internal space for operational- and mission-critical components without much complication mechanically although, by 1943 standards, the aerodynamic function of this flying wing aircraft would have been quite the challenge to say the least. The engine of choice was again a pairing of HeS 011 turbojets rated at 2,865 pounds of thrust each.
Like other late-war German "fast bomber" projects, the 3x1000C was to lack any defensive gun positions as authorities deemed that turbojet performance was more than adequate for outrunning Allied interceptors of the period. To limit the manpower commitment of the new bomber, the RLM also stressed that the 3x1000 design submissions be restricted to a single crewman. This meant that the workload for the pilot included not only flying the aircraft but also managing the navigation suite and bombing equipment form take-off to landing.
Despite the work put into the Fw 3x1000C, the design joined many other late-war German initiatives in becoming nothing more than a design study. As the Luftwaffe moved away from the prospect of ever netting a serviceable heavy bomber in the war, the requirement for large aircraft appropriately fell by the wayside. The need for interceptors and fighters proved much more dire than anything else during 1944 and into 1945 as losses for German forces on the ground continued to mount. The Fw 3x1000C became another in a long line of unrealized products that proved more fantasy than tangible warplane.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
19.0 ft (5.80 m)
45.9 ft (14.00 m)
9,259 lb (4,200 kg)
17,857 lb (8,100 kg)
+8,598 lb (+3,900 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Focke-Wulf Fw 3x1000C production variant)
2 x Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines developing 2,865 lb of thrust each.
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