Henschel Hs 117
|Hs 117 Schmetterling|
|Type||Surface-to-air (SAM) / Air-to-air (AAM) missile|
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Designer||Professor Herbert A. Wagner|
|Variants||Hs 117M (air-to-air missile variant)|
|Specifications (Hs 117)|
|Weight||450 kg (990 lb), 620 kg (1,370 lb) with launch boosters|
|Length||4,200 mm (170 in)|
|Diameter||350 mm (14 in)|
1x BMW 109-558 liquid-fuelled rocket engine|
3.7 kN (830 lbf) for 33 sec, followed by 0.588 kN (132 lbf) for 24 sec
|Wingspan||2,000 mm (79 in)|
|Propellant||Tonka-250 (50% triethylamine and 50% xylidine) fuel, with SV-Stoff (nitric acid) oxidiser|
|32 km (20 mi; 17 nmi)|
|Flight altitude||6,000–9,000 m (20,000–30,000 ft)|
|Boost time||2x Schmidding 109-553 Ethylene glycol solid fuel boosters, giving total 17.1 kN (3,800 lbf) thrust for 4 sec.|
|Speed||900–1,000 km/h (560–620 mph; 490–540 kn)|
|MCLOS; visual guidance by telescope, radio controls; two-man crew|
In 1941, Professor Herbert A. Wagner (who was previously responsible for the Henschel Hs 293 anti-ship missile) invented the Schmetterling missile and submitted it to the Reich Air Ministry (RLM), who rejected the design because there was no need for more anti-aircraft weaponry.
However, by 1943 the large-scale bombing of Germany caused the RLM to change its mind, and Henschel was given a contract to develop and manufacture it. The team was led by Professor Wagner, and it produced a weapon somewhat resembling a bottlenose dolphin with swept wings and cruciform tail.
In May 1944, 59 Hs 117 missiles were tested, some from beneath a Heinkel He 111; over half the trials failed. Mass production was ordered in December 1944, with deployment to start in March 1945. Operational missiles were to be launched from a 37mm gun carriage.
In January 1945, a prototype for mass production was completed, and production of 3,000 missiles a month was anticipated, but on 6 February, SS-Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler cancelled the project.
The Hs 117H was an air-launched variant, designed to be launched from a Dornier Do 217, Junkers Ju 188, or Junkers Ju 388. This version was designed to attack enemy aircraft up to 5 km (16,000 ft) above the launching aircraft.
- Christopher, John (2013). The Race for Hitler's X-Planes. The Mill, Gloucestershire: History Press.
- Ford, Roger (2013). Germany's Secret Weapons of World War II. London, UK: Amber Books. ISBN 9781909160569.
- Henschel Hs117 Schmettering (Butterfly) - Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford (UK)
- German language page on the Hs 117 Schmetterling SAM missile
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