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Junkers J2


Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter Prototype


Imperial Germany | 1916



"Developed from the promising J1, the Junkers J2 became the first military fighter of all-metal design anywhere in the world when it first-flew in July of 1916."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The first purpose-built, all-metal military monoplane fighter aircraft was the Junkers "J2" prototype of 1916. Only six were constructed but the series nevertheless ushered in a new era of aircraft design concerning combat-minded platforms. Unfortunately for the type, it arrived at a time when fabric-over-wood biplanes and triplanes were still the accepted comfortable norm and thusly a very limited number of Hugo Junker's designs were actually adopted for military service in World War 1 (1914-1918) (the metal-skinned CL.I of 1917 saw 51 examples produced for the German Empire).

Hugo Junkers was championing the idea of an all-metal aircraft even before World War 1 but the conflict allowed the concept to gestate at a much quicker pace. Work resulted in the J1 monoplane which went to the air for the first time in December of 1915. Purely experimental, the J1 set the stage for the J2 that followed - a dedicated fighter mount for the German air services.

The success of the J1 in testing allowed the J2 to be funded by the research arm of the German air force and six all-metal aircraft were contracted for from Junkers & Company for the over-battlefield role of fighter. This type of aircraft required good handling and performance as well as reliability and robustness making up a very stable gunnery platform - no small feat for any one aircraft design during wartime. The engine of choice became the Mercedes D.II inline which outputted 120 horsepower and was able to drive the J1 prototype to speeds of 110 miles per hour (the German air force required the new aircraft to exceed at least 90mph). Armament would be 1 x 7.92mm Spandau IMG 08 series machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

The resulting design was a sleek offering with its rounded-edge fuselage. The monoplane wings were slim appendages fitted to the sides of the fuselage and braced internally. The tail unit was traditional (though the rudder was an all-moving surface) as was the undercarriage. The engine sat at the nose driving a two-bladed propeller unit and the pilot was aft of this installation in an open-air cockpit. Because of the monoplane wings in play, views out-of-the-cockpit were to be rather good when compared to competing biplane and triplane types seen in the war. A raised fuselage spine and added roll bar protected the pilots head and neck from the aircraft accidentally rolling over onto its back. The engine fit was nearly all-enclosed in the fuselage frontal section - unlike the exposed form of the earlier J1.

As impressive and revolutionary as the J1 was when debuted, the J2 was moreso. A first example was completed in early-1916 and this led to a first-flight recorded on July 11th of that year amidst official structural evaluations. On the whole, the aircraft exhibited strong maneuverability and turning and was stable overall - though its largely metal construction restricted rate-of-climb which was a crucial quality of dogfighting in World War 1. Maximum speed reached during this time was 112 miles per hour.

The project would never overcome its weight deficiency and one test pilot was lost in a crash during September 1916. This event ended formal government-level support for the aircraft. In the upcoming J3 design, lighter weight "duralumin" replaced the electrical sheet steel used in the J1 and J2 prototypes.

In testing (with a Mercedes D.III engine of 160 horsepower), the J2 was rated with a maximum speed of 124 miles per hour coupled with an operational range out to 382 miles and a service ceiling of 14,760 feet.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Junkers J2 Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter Prototype.
1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
Propulsion
124 mph
200 kph | 108 kts
Max Speed
14,764 ft
4,500 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
382 miles
615 km | 332 nm
Operational Range
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 Junkers J2 Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter Prototype.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
24.4 ft
7.45 m
O/A Length
38.4 ft
(11.70 m)
O/A Width
10.3 ft
(3.15 m)
O/A Height
2,028 lb
(920 kg)
Empty Weight
2,568 lb
(1,165 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 Junkers J2 Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter Prototype .
1 x 7.92mm Spandau IMG 08 machine gun mounted over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Junkers J2 family line.
J2 - Base Series Designation; six examples completed.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Junkers J2. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 6 Units

Contractor(s): Junkers & Company - German Empire
National flag of the German Empire

[ German Empire (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (124mph).

Graph Average of 113 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
6
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
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1 / 1
Image of the Junkers J2
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
X-PLANE
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 Junkers J2 Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter Prototype appears in the following collections:
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