Germany's fortunes in World War 2 (1939-1945) began to negatively change in 1943 and the situation only got worse in 1944, leaving Luftwaffe authorities scrambling for solutions to stave off defeat. The primary enemy-of-the-day was the relentless Allied day-and-night aerial bombing campaign which was taking its toll on German infrastructure and war-making capabilities. With the focus on turbojet technology, German engineers of the various aero-concerns of the war took to design all manner of war-winning aircraft - if they were to ever make it into the air.
For Messerschmitt, makers of the groundbreaking Me 262 "Schwalbe" jet-powered fighter, the "P.1092" project arose as a design study centered around a reusable, compact jet-powered fighter/interceptor platform focusing on simplified production, maintenance, and training. The project eventually encompassed a handful of related offshoots of which none were actually built during the war - but nonetheless offered a glimpse into the direction the company was taking their turbojet fighter thinking.
The P.1092 project was evolved from its original "P.1092A" form into the successive "P.1092/1", "P.1092/2", and "P.1092/3" offerings, all more-or-less utilizing the traits established by the original A-model drawings.
In the first P.1092A iteration, the aircraft carried a ventrally-mounted intake to aspirate the single turbojet engine buried in the lower section of the fuselage. The nose was to house the armament (side-by-side automatic cannons) and the single-seat cockpit was to be located aft of the guns and over the engine. While aspirated from under the nose, the engine exhausted through a port integrated under the empennage, terminating well-ahead of the tail unit proper. The tail section tapered towards the rear in the usual way and was given a "V-plane" arrangement. The wing mainplanes were mid-mounted at the fuselage sides and sported sweepback along both the leading and trailing edges. The undercarriage comprised a rather modern retractable, wheeled tricycle arrangement.
From this work was spawned the subsequent P.1092/1 which streamlined the original A-model concept through a raised dorsal spine, reworked engine housing, relocated nosewheel (now aft of the intake opening as opposed to ahead of it), and traditional single-finned tail unit. The primary feature of this model was to be its variable "wing sweep" mainplane function which could change in-flight depending on the current flying phase (take-off, landing, cruising, high-speed flight).
The follow-up P.1092/2 took this same design and to it was added a deeper fuselage. On the whole, many facets of the original were retained including the single-seat arrangement, traditional tail unit, and underslung turbojet housing.
The third iteration of the series became the P.1092/3 of July 1943 - the focus of this article - and involved a considerable departure from the norm, namely in that the cockpit was moved further back, ahead of the tailfin, and wholly-integrated into the tailfin's base. This relocated the pilot's position well-aft of midships but was done to enhance high-speed efficiency through reduced drag. Of course this would come at a price - namely in pilot vision out-of-the-cockpit, making for treacherous take-off and landing runs. The retractable tricycle undercarriage was carried over from the P.1092/2 submission as was its low ground clearance.
Despite the drawbacks of rear pilot placement, the proposed change freed the forward section of the fuselage to accommodate larger-caliber weapon systems while still allowing the fighter to retain its relatively compact dimensions. As such, armament would be increased to 4 x 30mm MK108 automatic cannons, these to be seated in pairs to either of the nose, allowing for a tremendous single-burst kill capability against any Allied bomber of the day.
Another feature reworked in the P.1092/3 design study was the intake - now bifurcated (split) to improve airflow to the single engine installation. Power was to come from a single Junkers Jumo 004C series turbojet engine developing 2,237lb of thrust. The low position of the turbojet was to have eased maintenance, repair, and replacement as well as refueling and reduced the amount of ductwork for airflow.
As drawn up, the revised fighter was to have an overall length of 26.5 feet, a wingspan of 30.8 feet, and a height of 11.8 feet. No other specifications were estimated / finalized before the end of the War in Europe in May of 1945.
At any event, the P.1092/3 ended its days as nothing more than a "paper airplane", one of many such types entertained by German aero-concerns and Luftwaffe authorities before the eventual defeat of Germany. It existed as nothing more than a design study for its time and was used to compare against other proposals of the day.
Beyond the three iterations of the P.1092 there was also the twin-engined P.1092/4 (with over-nose cockpit placement) and a P.1092/5 version following more in line with the P.1092/3 design - similarly none were furthered beyond the drawing board or concept stages.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
26.6 ft (8.10 m)
30.8 ft (9.40 m)
11.8 ft (3.60 m)
5,798 lb (2,630 kg)
8,091 lb (3,670 kg)
+2,293 lb (+1,040 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Messerschmitt Me P.1092/3 production variant)
1 x Junkers Jumo 004C turbojet engine developing 2,237lb of thrust.
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