Focke-Wulf Fw 238
|Role||Strategic bomber project|
The Focke-Wulf Fw 238 was a four-engine (six engined in its variant Fw 238 C) low wing strategic bomber developed by the German aeronautical company Focke-Wulf-Flugzeugbau AG in the early 1940s and remained at the project stage. Designed to the same specifications issued by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) which led to the Focke-Wulf Ta 400 and Junkers Ju 390, its development was cancelled by the RLM.
Design and development
In March 1941 the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (ministry of the air, abbreviated RLM), the ministry that during the Nazi period was responsible for the whole aviation of Germany, expressed the need to acquire a new long-range bombardment aircraft capable of carrying a war load of 5,000 kg of bombs with a range of 15,000 km. Focke-Wulf and Junkers responded to the request by starting a project for a large tactical bomber suitable to meet the specifications issued.
Focke-Wulf planned the development of an all-encompassing four-engine aircraft in a trailing configuration that could be equipped with the best engines currently being developed, the BMW 803 of 3 900 PS combined with four-bladed propellers counter-rotating or Junkers Jumo 222. The long fuselage integrated the cockpit pressurized for the five (or according to other sources ten) crew members on the front, the ventral bomb compartment and a empennage bi drift chosen to improve the shooting range of the two barbette hydraulically driven backbones equipped with a pair of cannoncini automatic MG 151/20 gauge 20 mm. To these were two other identical barbette and, optional for the antinave[check spelling] configuration, a gondola equipped with 4 cannons MK 108 caliber 30 mm. The landing gear chosen re-proposes a classic configuration, with the two front axle springs cushioned and equipped with twin wheel integrated by a third rotated element placed near the tail.
In addition to the three planned versions, the first two (A and B) equipped with the four supermotors and a third, the Fw 238 C, which had to make up for the impossibility of being equipped with the BMW 803 and Jumo 222 still too fragile (and that failed never to overcome the reliability problems encountered) with six more traditional and reliable 12 inverted V cylinders chosen from Daimler-Benz DB 603 or Junkers Jumo 213, there was one development for a small four-engine version, equipped with radial BMW 801 D, with a length of 30.6 m by 5.8 m height with a 50 m opening wing and a surface area of 240 m².
In reality none of the versions passed the phase design and their development, which according to some estimates could have been realized at least in a prototype able to fly by the end of 1944, was definitively interrupted for an order dated 14 February 1943 in which the RLM required companies to devote themselves as a priority to the development of models to be used in the air defense of the German territory.
- Fw 238A
- four-engine version equipped with BMW 803 radial engines driving counter-rotating propellers.
- Fw 238B
- four-engine version equipped with Junkers Jumo 222.
- Fw 238C
- Examotor version equipped with six Daimler-Benz DB 603 or Junkers Jumo 213.
- Fw 238H
- small four-engine variant, length - 30.6 m (100 ft), height - 5.8 m (19 ft), span - 50 m (160 ft), wing area 240 m2 (2,600 sq ft), equipped with BMW 803 engines.
Specifications (Fw 238H)
Data from Die Deutsche Luftrüstung 1933–1945 Vol.2 – Flugzeugtypen Erla-Heinkel
- Length: 35.3 m (115 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 52 m (170 ft 7 in)
- Height: 8.7 m (28 ft 7 in)
- Wing area: 290 m2 (3,100 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 55,620 kg (122,621 lb)
- Gross weight: 114,530 kg (252,495 lb)
- Powerplant: 4 × BMW 803 28-cylinder 7-bank liquid-cooled coupled inline radial engine 3,900 PS (3,800 hp; 2,900 kW)
- Propellers: 8-bladed Contra-rotating propeller
- Maximum speed: 670 km/h (420 mph, 360 kn) at 8,000 m (26,000 ft)
- Cruise speed: 500 km/h (310 mph, 270 kn)
- Landing speed: 130 km/h (81 mph; 70 kn)
- Range: 14,100 km (8,800 mi, 7,600 nmi)
- Herwig, Dieter; Rode, Heinz (2000). Luftwaffe secret projects : strategic bombers 1935-45 (English language ed.). Midland. pp. 53–56. ISBN 1857800923.