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Germany's Heinkel He 162 jet fighter
Nickname: Salamander

Photos

Design

Was designed by Ernst Heinkel.1 He called it the Swallow.1 Ernst Heinkel was able to design, build, and launch the Heinkel He 162 in three months, September - December 1944.3 The requirements were for a fighter that was simple to build and didn't use strategic materials.3

The specifications were given to seven companies (Arado, Blohm und Voss, Fieseler, Focke Wulf, Heinkel, Junkers, and Messerschmitt) on September 8, 1944.3 On September 30 the contract was given to Heinkel.3

The Heinkel He 162 was an attempt to design a mass produced Volksjäger "peoples fighter" that would battle the Allied bombers.1 It was hoped that pilots with little training or experience could fly the He 162.1,3 The plan was that Hitler Youth would be given elementary training in gliders.2 However, it suffered from aerodynamic and structural problems which caused it to be difficult to fly.1

Cockpit

The pilot had one of the first ejection seats in an aircraft.1,3

The cockpit had a one piece canopy which gave the pilot an excellent view.1,3

Fuselage

The fuselage was built of metal.2

Undercarriage

With the heavy engine mounted above the fuselage and the undercarriage being very narrow made handling on the ground difficult.1

Wings

The wings were made primarily of wood with light allow flaps.1,2 It was hoped to solve the aerodynamic problems by using turned down wingtips.1,2

Engine

The BMW engine was mounted above the fuselage.1,2,3 This caused the He 162 to be unstable in pitch which caused it to be hard to fly.1 The placement of the engine also lead to the need for the pilot to use an ejection seat as a parachute could have been caught in the turbojet.1

Prototype

The first prototype of the He 162 was completed on December 1, 1944.3 The He 162 V1 prototype first flew, from Heinkel's Vienna-Schwechat field, on December 6, 1944, which was 38 days after the detailed drawings were given to the factory.1,2,3 It crashed four days later when the right wing broke up.1,3 The crash was the result of faulty gluing.3

Production

More than 270 He 162s were produced and over 800 unfinished aircraft were captured.1
150 were delivered to the Luftwaffe.2 100 were awaiting flight testing.2 800 were on in the production line.2

It was planned to build 4,0002,3 / 5,000 a month.1 Construction was to take place in three factories.2,3

  • Prototypes: 43
  • Pre-Series: 313
  • Heinkel He 162: ~1003
  • Manufacturer: Ernst Heinkel A.G.3

Variants

  • Heinkel He 162 V1: Prototype.3
  • Heinkel He 162A-1: 30 mm cannon.2
  • Heinkel He 162A-2: 20 mm cannon.2 Tail plane span was increased.2 First production model.3

Usage

On May 4, 1945 a Gruppe (1/JG12) was formed at Leck with 50 He 162 fighters.1

No actual reports of combat have ever been confirmed.1

Specifications

  Heinkel He 162 Salamander2
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) BMW 003E-1/2 turbojet2
Thrust at take-off 1,760 lb2
7.9 kN2
Dimensions  
Span 23' 7.75"2
7.21 m2
Length 29' 8.5"2
9.05 m2
Height 8' 6"2
2.59 m2
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,796 lb2
2,175 kg2
Loaded 5,480 lb2
2,486 kg2
Maximum load 5,940 lb2
2,694 kg2
Performance  
Speed at sea level  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Fuselage 2: 20 mm2
OR 2: 30 mm2
  Heinkel He 162A-2 Salamander1,2,3
Type Fighter3, Jet fighter1
Crew 11,3
Engine (Type) BMW 003E-1 axial flow turbojet1,3
Thrust at take-off 1,755 lb1, 1,764 lb3
7.8 kN1
Thrust maximum
for 30 seconds
2,030 lb1
9.02 kN1
Dimensions  
Span 23' 7"1,3
7.2 m1
Length 29' 8"1,3
9.05 m1
Height 8' 6"1,3
2.6 m1
Wing area 121 ft2 1
11.2 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 3,659 lb1
1,663 kg1
Loaded 5,940 lb3, 6,171 lb1
2,805 kg1
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed at sea level 490 mph1,2
602 km1, 788 kph2
Speed @ 19,680' 521 mph3
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
522 mph2
840 kph2
Climb 4,230'/minute2
1,289 m/minute2
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
6.6 minutes2
Service ceiling 39,400'1,3, 39,500'2
12,010 m1, 12,048 m2
Endurance at sea level 20 minutes2
Endurance at 36,000' /
10,973 m
57 minutes2
Range 384 miles1, 410 miles2, 606 miles3
620 km1, 660 km2
Armament 2: 20 mm MG 1513
Fuselage 2: 20 mm MG 1511

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site