Synopsis: German engineer Kurt Tank designed the compact and nimble Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter which became Germany's best overall platform during World War 2. While supplanting the aging, though consistently improved and effective, Messerschmitt Bf109 fighter series, Fw 190 pilots were responsible for the downing of hundreds of Allied bombers and fighters and became the mainstay of the Third Reich defense by war's end. So successful was the fighter design that the series was evolved into a myriad of offshoots intended to fulfill various German Air Ministry requirements as the war progressed. Experts placed the inherent capabilities of the Fw 190 on par with that of the equally-spectacular war-winning North American P-51 Mustang.
The Fw 190 was highly evolved when it appeared as the Focke-Wulf Ta 152, intended as a high-altitude interceptor and given an elongated fuselage with new wings. The "Ta" in the formal designation took on the letters of Kurt Tank's surname - such was his reward for designing the fabled Fw 190.
Pros: The Fw 190 coupled supreme maneuverability with speed intended to match its period counterpart, mainly the Supermarine Spitfire V; armament (Fw 190D-9) consisted of twin 13mm heavy machine guns with a pair of 20mm cannons as well as provision for an optional drop bomb underneath the fuselage helped to make the Fw 190 a much-feared adversary among Allied ranks. American aviation pioneer and national hero Chuck Yeager endorsed the Fw 190 as on par with the highly-touted North American P-51 Mustang after having flown the German design.
Notoriety: Undoubtedly the best overall fighter design concerning German piston-engine aircraft of World War 2; the series was credited with destruction of hundreds upon hundreds of Allied bombers and fighters.
Total Production: 19,500
Notable Variants: Focke-Wulf Ta 152
Operators: France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Romania and Turkey.
NEXT: Supermarine Spitfire