Blohm & Voss BV 40
|Model of a BV 40|
|Manufacturer||Blohm & Voss|
|First flight||6 May 1944|
The BV 40 was the smallest glider that could accommodate an armoured cockpit and two cannon with limited ammunition. By eliminating the engine and lying the pilot in a prone position (i.e. on his front), the cross-sectional area of the fuselage was much reduced, making the BV 40 harder for bomber gunners to hit.
Of conventional layout, the glider had a high-mounted, straight untapered wing with a similarly-shaped tailplane mounted on the fin just above the fuselage. The pilot lay in the nose of the aircraft, with a thick armoured glass windscreen panel that gave the aircraft a blunt-nosed appearance.
Two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannon were mounted in the wing roots.
There was no conventional undercarriage. A twin-wheeled dolly was used for take-off and dropped once the glider was airborne. A skid under the nose was lowered for landing.
The BV 40 interceptor glider was conceived as a low-cost emergency solution to the problem of the Allied bomber formations which were devastating Germany in the latter half of World War II. It was to be towed by a Messerschmitt Bf 109 to operational altitude and released above the Allied bombers combat box. Once released, it would dive down at a sharp angle towards the enemy bomber fleet. During its short attack time, the BV 40 would fire its weapons, then glide back to earth.
Several prototypes were completed and flown, towed behind a Messerschmitt Bf 110. The first flight took place in May 1944. Various changes to the requirement and to the design were discussed, before the project was cancelled later in the year. In all, seven aircraft were completed and five of them flown.
Data from Warplanes of the Third Reich
- Crew: One pilot
- Length: 5.70 m (18 ft 8½ in)
- Wingspan: 7.90 m (25 ft 11 in)
- Height: 1.63 m (5 ft 4⅛ in)
- Wing area: 8.70 m2 (93.6 ft2)
- Empty weight: 838 kg (1,844 lb)
- Gross weight: 952 kg (2,094 lb)
- Maximum speed: 900 km/h (560 mph)Armament
- 2 × fixed, forward-firing 30 mm (1.18 in) Rheinmetall Borsig MK 108 cannon (35 rpg)
- Blohm und Voss BV 40
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