The Junkers Ju 287 certainly proved one of the most unique of the approved late-war, jet-powered designs for the German nation - now fighting a war on multiple fronts. The aircraft was intended as a high-speed heavy bomber which strayed away from previous conventional German thinking of the time which leaned towards light-to-medium-weight bomber projects - though a focus on fast bombers still remained at this point. Indeed, the German Luftwaffe fielded a limited collection of four-engined bombers during the war and this proved a strategic and tactical limitation throughout 1944 and into 1945.
Hans Wocke worked for Junkers and, in 1943, proposed a swept-forward wing concept for a fast jet bomber capable of outrunning any known enemy air defenses - including interceptors and ground-based cannon networks. The use of a forward-swept-wing, Wocke argued, would promote improved high-speed qualities and improve on low-speed handling when compared to straight-wing, jet-powered designs being regularly put forth. Design of the Ju 287 was headed by Ernst Zindel.
The new Junkers product was conceived in one working prototype and, to expedite its development, borrowed whole components from existing aircraft. The nosewheel was from an American Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" heavy bomber while the main wheels emerged from a Junkers Ju 352 "Herkules" transport. The Junkers Ju 388 "Stortebeker" heavy fighter made up a large portion of the empennage while the fuselage was taken from the Heinkel He 177 "Grief" heavy bomber.
With Flugkapitan Siegfried Holzbauer at the controls, initial prototype V1 went airborne for the first time on August 16th, 1944. Power was provided through 4 x Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojet engines - one under each wing and one to either side of the forward fuselage. This had to be augmented by 4 x Walter 109-501 rocket pods added to each jet installation for the required lifting-off thrust. The rocket pods were then jettisoned after their fuel had been spent.
The V1 would enjoy some developmental success during its short time aloft, completing as many as seventeen flights. Reported values included a maximum speed of 350 miles per hour with a cruising speed of 320 miles per hour, range out to 975 miles and a service ceiling of 30,850 feet. Rate-of-climb measured 1,900 feet per minute. The aircraft exhibited an empty weight of 27,560lb and 44,100lb when fully-laden. Dimensions included a wingspan of 66 feet, a fuselage length of 60 feet and a height of 15 feet, 5 inches. Due to operating altitudes and speeds, the Ju 287 would have utilized a pressurized crew cabin (for two) and ejection seats.
Proposed armament was to be up to 8,800lb of internally-held ordnance and an unknown defensive-minded cannon arrangement in a rear-facing, remote-controlled barbette.
Despite the promising aspects of the Ju 287, the program was slowed and interest in the high-speed jet bomber fell with the German Air Ministry (RLM). It was not until the desperation of March 1945 that the RLM knew what it had and made a move to order serial production of the Ju 287. In time, a V2 and V3 prototype were added to the fold, the V2 envisioned with 6 x Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojet engines. However, the war was quickly over by May 1945 and these two had only entered early construction before being taken over by advancing Soviet forces.
The Ju 287 program continued, to an extent, in the Soviet Union during the immediate post-war years, furthered into 1947 as the GOZ-1 "OKB-1 EF 131", this based on the proposed V3 prototype.
(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.
60.0 ft (18.30 m)
66.0 ft (20.11 m)
15.4 ft (4.70 m)
27,558 lb (12,500 kg)
44,092 lb (20,000 kg)
+16,535 lb (+7,500 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Junkers Ju 287 V1 production variant)
4 x Junkers Jumo 109-004B-1 turbojet engines developing 1,985 lb of thrust.
2 x 13mm heavy machine guns in remote-controlled tail barbette.
Up to 8,800 lb of conventional drop bombs held in an internal bay.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0
Ju 287 V1 - Initial prototype with 4 x Junkers Jumo jet engine layout and Walter rocket-assist.
Ju 287 V2 - Proposed second prototype with 6 x Junkers Jumo jet engine layout; never completed.
Ju 287 V3 - Proposed third prototype; never completed.
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (347mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Junkers Ju 287 V1 operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (1)
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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