By late in World War 2, German authorities had already made a stout commitment to the production of fighters over bombers. Seeing it that she would be fighting more or less a defensive-minded war for some time to come, models such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf 190 were evermore the important element to sustaining the German cause. It was therefore no surprise that the emphasis was also later placed on jet-powered fighter designs when the first rocket and turbojet-powered engines were being successfully tested. The Ta 183 design - a fighter design appearing on drawing boards as early as 1942 - was revisited and furthered once another Focke-Wulf fighter project, known simply as "Project VII", was officially rejected by the RLM. However, a pressed Germany meant that the Ta 183 "Huckebein" would only reach the design stage by the end of World War 2 in Europe.
The Ta 183 was intended to supplant all front-line fighters then in Luftwaffe service including the relatively new, first-generation, jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" and Heinkel He 162 "Volksjager" fighters. The Ta 183 was designed by a Kurt Tank team, led by talented engineer Hans Multhopp, in response to an RLM initiative calling for a highly-capable jet-powered fighter as part of its evolving "Emergency Fighter Program". Tank, serving as a long-time engineering at Focke-Wulf and having proved his worth to the firm, was allowed use of the first two letters of his last name in the designation of several late-war aircraft (to include the production Ta-152 high-altitude fighter, a variant of his successful Fw 190 fighter). However, the war would end before the impressive Ta 183 would even see the light of day - limiting the aircraft to several advanced wind tunnel models for evaluation.
During the initial stages of design, various ideas were taken under consideration including the use of rocket-assisted take-off. Construction was mostly of aluminum, steel sheeting and wood. The design weighed heavily on keeping the aircraft's center of gravity in check though many issues arose during development that would have plagued the aircraft throughout any foreseeable career. A total of two designs were seriously looked into and known as Design II and Design III. The former featured a repositioned undercarriage and subtle changes in design throughout. The latter - and the design eventually selected for competition - saw a slightly-less sweep on the wings and a repositioning of the wing and cockpit.
The Ta 183 design eventually lost out (at least on paper) to a Junkers design (in the form of the EF128). When it was realized that the Ta 183 was in fact the better of the two designs, the Ta 183 was put back on the forefront with prototype and production numbers being seriously considered. This put Kurt Tank and his experts into action on a working model but the end of the war would see an end to all further development - Tank would later take off for Argentina to avoid any type of criminal prosecution for his role in the war.
While in exile in Argentina, Tank took to completing the Hans Multhopp Ta 183 design for the Argentine government. Financial ruin in the country left the nation looking for a budgeted alternative to any new, troublesome and costly designs, thusly settling for the North American F-86 Sabre available in some numbers on the market following the Korean War. To that end, the Ta 183 did see life in the form of the Argentine IAe "Pulqui II" but only five of its type were ever completed by the Fabrica Militar de Aviones. This incarnation of Multhopp's design was viewed largely as a failure with Tank's changes to the initial configuration being largely to blame.
It is also suspected that the Soviet Union's MiG-15 "Fagot" design was inspired by Ta 183 documentation captured from German sources after the war. The aircraft did seem to share an outward similarity but are generally viewed as quite different in most respects. The Swedish SAAB Tunnan is also thought to be inspired by the Ta 183. Regardless, the Ta 183 design itself proved quite an undertaking considering the ambitiousness inherent in the drastic layout and infant jet technology required to power such a design. Though none were wholly-built, its "paper" form can still be thought of as inspiring other designs in its wake.
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4 x 30mm Mk 108 cannons in chin/nose position
Up to 1,000lbs of external ordnance such as conventional drop bombs. Support planned for 4 x Ruhrstahl X-4 wire-guided air-to-air missiles.
Design II - Focke-Wulf Company Designation; minor wingtip redesign; repositioned undercarriage.
Design III - Focke-Wulf Company Designation; reduced wing sweep to 32 degrees; repositioned cockpit and wing assembly.
Project V - Alternative Project Designation
Project VI - Alternative Project Designation in some sources.
Ta 183 "Huckebein" - Base Series Designation; single prototype was never completed before the end of the war.
FMA IAe 33 "Pulqui II" - Argentinian futher development of the German design in post-war.
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