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Heinkel He P.1080

Ramjet-Powered Interceptor Proposal

Nazi Germany | 1946

"The Heinkel He P.1080 was to be a ramjet-powered interceptor serving the Luftwaffe in the late-World War 2 years."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/29/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Towards the end of World War II (1939-1945), the desperate Germans invested heavily in what came to be known generically in modern-speak as "secret weapons" or "wonder weapons" - designs intended to change the outcome of the war in Germany's favor. As 1944 saw considerable changes in the German war effort and - by early 1945 - victory in Hitler's years-long war across Europe and Africa was very much in doubt. As such, the Luftwaffe sought all manner of game-changing aircraft that could help stave off defeat and many of the usual industry players (such as Heinkel, Dornier, and Junkers) threw their hat into the ring in an effort to sway the favor of authorities.

The Heinkel He P.1080 was a product of the period, intended as a ramjet-powered fighter / bomber-interceptor / night-hunter. This radar-equipped development would have seated a single crewman and housed twin ramjet engines to achieve exceptional speed when responding to an incoming wave of Allied bombers. By this point in the war, the Allied bomber stood as the single-greatest threat to German war-making capabilities as both a day and night campaign wreaked havoc in aiding the Allied push into places like Rome, Paris, and - ultimately - Berlin itself.

With researched garnered from extensive testing and data-collecting by the "Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fur Segelflug" (DFS - Germany's glider-centric research institute), German aircraft engineers went to work.

The general design of the interceptor was largely conventional: the pilot was positioned at the extreme forward end of the fuselage with a large-area vertical tail fin at the opposite end. Mainplanes were swept-back appendages mounted near midships and clipped at their tips. Between a the mainplanes and fuselage were the engine compartments, each featuring a Lorin-Rohr ramjet component. Rounded intakes were set to either side of the cockpit with circular exhaust ports positioned aft in a simple "straight-through" engine design requiring little to no ductwork within.

Because air-breathing ramjet engines were only useful under power after exceeding a certain speed, the P.1080 would have relied on no fewer than four solid-fueled booster rockets temporarily generating 2,200lb of thrust from each unit (other similar designs of the period were trialed by launching mid-air from "motherships" to achieve the same result). Once expended, the rockets were to be jettisoned. Once under its own power, and coupled with a sleek, aerodynamic airframe complete with swept-back mainplanes, the fighter could achieve considerable straightline speeds reaching supersonic levels.

Similarly, a wheeled undercarriage that would have been used for initial ground-running actions was to be jettisoned soon after take-off - landing accomplished by way of simple belly skid in an open, leveled field (ala the Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet" rocket-powered bomber-interceptor).

Armament was to be the usual Luftwaffe late-war battery of 2 x 30mm MK 108 internal automatic cannons - the pairing suitable for bringing any Allied bomber down in a single burst. Beyond this, the aircraft was to be equipped with radar for bomber-hunting at night.

Dimensions included a length of 26.9 feet with a wingspan of 29.2 feet. Estimated maximum speed was 620 miles-per-hour.

As it stood, the P.1080 interceptor did not advance beyond its paper stage, joining a myriad of other designs to fall to the same fate before the end of the war in Europe in May 1945. The war, as a whole, ended in August of that year with the capitulation of Japan.

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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 Heinkel He P.1080 Ramjet-Powered Interceptor Proposal.
2 x Lorin-Rohr ramjet engines of unknown thrust output for cruising; 2 x Rocket boosters developing 2,200lb of temporary thrust for take-off.
621 mph
1,000 kph | 540 kts
Max Speed
482 mph
775 kph | 418 kts
Cruise Speed
40,026 ft
12,200 m | 8 miles
Service Ceiling
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Heinkel He P.1080 Ramjet-Powered Interceptor Proposal.
26.7 ft
8.15 m
O/A Length
29.2 ft
(8.90 m)
O/A Width
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Heinkel He P.1080 Ramjet-Powered Interceptor Proposal .
2 x 30mm MK 108 internal automatic cannons in lower forward fuselage.
Notable series variants as part of the Heinkel He P.1080 family line.
P.1080 - Base Project Designation.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Heinkel He P.1080. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

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

[ Nazi Germany (abandoned) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (621mph).

Graph Average of 563 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
MACH Regime (Sonic)
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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Image of the Heinkel He P.1080
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
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 P.1080 Ramjet-Powered Interceptor Proposal appears in the following collections:
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