Hitler's Secret Bomber

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From Jim Butler. With its smooth and elegant lines, this could be a prototype for some future successor to the stealth bomber. But this flying wing was actually designed by the Nazis 30 years before the Americans successfully developed radar-invisible technology. Now an engineering team has reconstructed the Horten Ho 2-29 from blueprints, with startling results. Blast from the past: The full-scale replica of the Ho 2-29 bomber was made with materials available in the 40s. Futuristic: The stealth plane design was years ahead of its time It was faster and more efficient than any other plane of the period and its stealth powers did work against radar. Experts are now convinced that given a little bit more time, the mass deployment of this aircraft could have changed the course of the war. The plane could have helped Adolf Hitler win the war First built and tested in the air in March 1944, it was designed with a greater range and speed than any plane previously built and was the first aircraft to use the stealth technology now deployed by the U.S. in its B-2 bombers. Thankfully Hitler’s engineers only made three prototypes, tested by being dragged behind a glider, and were not able to build them on an industrial scale before the Allied forces invaded. From Panzer tanks through to the V-2 rocket, it has long been recognised that Germany ’s technilowcal expertise during the war was years ahead of the Allies. But by 1943, Nazi high command feared that the war was beginning to turn against them, and were desperate to develop new weapons to help turn the tide. Nazi bombers were suffering badly when faced with the speed and manoeuvrability of the Spitfire and other Allied fighters. Hitler was also desperate to develop a bomber with the range and capacity to reach the United States. In 1943 Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering demanded that designers come up with a bomber that would meet his ‘1,000, 1,000, 1,000’ requirements – one that could carry 1,000kg over 1,000km flying at 1,000km/h. A full scale replica of the Ho 229 bomber made with materials available in the 1940s at prefilght A wing section of the stealth bomber. The jet intakes were years ahead of their timeTwo pilot brothers in their thirties, Reimar and Walter Horten, suggested a ‘flying wing’ design they had been working on for years. They were convinced that with its drag and lack of wind resistance such a plane would meet Goering’s requirements. Construction on a prototype was begun in Goettingen in Germany in 1944. The centre pod was made from a welded steel tube, and was designed to be powered by a BMW 003 engine. The most important innovation was Reimar Horten’s idea to coat it in a mix of charcoal dust and wood glue. Vengeful: Inventors Reimar and Walter Horten were inspired to build the Ho 2-29 by the deaths of thousands of Luftwaffe pilots in the Battle of Britain The 142-foot wingspan bomber was submitted for approval in 1944, and it would have been able to fly from Berlin to NYC and back without refueling, thanks to the same blended wing design and six BMW 003A or eight Junker Jumo 004B turbojets. He thought the electromagnetic waves of radar would be absorbed, and in conjunction with the aircraft’s sculpted surfaces the craft would be rendered almost invisible to radar detectors. This was the same method eventually used by the U.S. in its first stealth aircraft in the early 1980s, the F-117A Nighthawk. The plane was covered in radar absorbent paint with a high graphite content, which has a similar chemical make-up to charcoal. After the war the Americans captured the prototype Ho 2-29s along with the blueprints and used some of their technological advances to aid their own designs. But experts always doubted claims that the Horten could actually function as a stealth aircraft. Now using the blueprints and the only remaining prototype craft, Northrop-Grumman (the defence firm behind the B-2) built a fullsize replica of a Horten Ho 2-29. Luckily for Britain the Horten flying wing fighter-bomber never got much further than the blueprint stage, above Thanks to the use of wood and carbon, jet engines integrated into the fuselage, and its blended surfaces, the plane could have been in London eight minutes after the radar system detected it It took them 2,500 man-hours and $250,000 to construct, and although their replica cannot fly, it was radar-tested by placing it on a 50ft articulating pole and exposing it to electromagnetic waves. The team demonstrated that although the aircraft is not completely invisible to the type of radar used in the war, it would have been stealthy enough and fast enough to ensure that it could reach London before Spitfires could be scrambled to intercept it. ‘If the Germans had had time to develop these aircraft, they could well have had an impact,’ says Peter Murton, aviation expert from the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, in Cambridgeshire. ‘In theory the flying wing was a very efficient aircraft design which minimised drag. ‘It is one of the reasons that it could reach very high speeds in dive and glide and had such an incredibly long range.’ The research was filmed for a forthcoming documentary on the National Geographic Channel.
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you're a bit behind the times. It was released a while ago. There is a thread already somewhere....
Profile picture for user Seafuryfan

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Good thread though Jim, and great photos from what looks like the resored NASM example - what a restoration!

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Don't-cha love the exaggerated hype these shows give such things? That glider-towed "testing" was just the first phase of flight testing... and they likely would have lost a few aircraft early on to one of the problem that caused the cancellation of the YB-49. Basically, the overall length was too short, and pitch changes could get out of control fairly easily. Towing it would have camouflaged that aspect. Additionally, it tended to "hunt" back and forth in yaw for extended periods after turns and in disturbed air... and the YB-49 had small vertical fins that provided some yaw control... the Horten had none. Towing would also hide this issue.

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Niice model! The full sized jet powered Horten IX V2 also flew well -and up to close on 600mph with very good handling characteristics , enough for the RLM to commit to production. As this was at the end of 15 years of development of a series of tailless glider and powered aircraft by the brothers Horten , perhaps it wasn't surprising. Like the Hortens , Northrop dispensed successfully with vertical surfaces ( see N1M and N 9M) in his designs. The fins on the YB 49 were evidently to compensate aerodynamically for the removal of the prop drive fairings from the XB-35 design,from which the jet bomber was of course directly derived.
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But this flying wing was actually designed by the Nazis 30 years before the Americans successfully developed radar-invisible technology.
Hate to burst the bubble, but the XB-35 and 49 where found to be near invisible to radar aswel, accidentally discovered during bombing trials in the late 1940s. The previous Northrop types may have had low radar signatures aswel, but unlikely to have been trialled for 'stealth' reasons as such. Is there any evidence to support the fact that stealth technology was in the minds of the Horton Brothers and Luftwaffe, or is it a case of neatly fitting facts after the event?

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I don't think the is any evidence for the Hortens actively seeking a stealthy design. Their work ( and Jack Northrop's ) started well before much was known about Radar. In addition, the Horten designs were mainly for fighters, fighter/bombers ( e.g. the Go229 ) and transports. I am unaware of any serious study for a large bomber. Certainly they started construction of a large transport, which eventually emerged much later (and smaller) in Argentina as the IA 38 .

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...Is there any evidence to support the fact that stealth technology was in the minds of the Horton Brothers and Luftwaffe, or is it a case of neatly fitting facts after the event?
That echoes my thoughts. Roger Smith.
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Sorry guys this is mostly pie in the sky stuff,the Hortens were great high performance gliders but as jet a/c they were just death traps,as I posted in the earlier thread on these a/c...the fuel tanks were integral,ie the wing structure was the fuel tank,a fuel soaked wooden structure is hardly a sensible way of constructing a jet a/c especially when the engines were so unreliable and liable to go 'bnag' at any time. There was no bulkhead to protect fuel/pilot/the other engine from an uncontained engine failure. They did not have the control authority to cope with a single engine failure,although the jet Horten crash was probably at least partly the pilots fault,apparently he was not very experienced on multi engine a/c. The long range bomber idea gave me a bit of a giggle ,how many engines would a Horten use to successfully fly long range :D Those engines were simply not up to production standards and it would have taken many years development to make them so. rgds baz
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Interesting to note that the Horten flying wing looks very similar to what Kenneth Arnold saw in June 1947 - around the same time that the US were testing a number of captured German and Japanese high-tech aircraft. Operation Paper Clip not only saw large quantities of equipment being imported into the US but thousands of technicians and scientists too. Perhaps somewhere in the USA a team of German/American technicians managed to put together one or more Horten aircraft. Also note that wartime Germany camouflage paint would have been replaced with post-war silver paint or unpainted aluminium, especially in the US. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d5/Arnold_crescent_1947.jpg Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arnold_Unidentified_Flying_Object_Sighting
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In addition, me thinks that there are two types of stealth aircraft: namely those designed to be stealthy from the drawing board up, and those aircraft that were found to be less observable on radar after the fact. I think that the Mosquito was slightly stealthy (heard that on a recent documentary).

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I think that the Mosquito was slightly stealthy (heard that on a recent documentary).
As someone pointed out years ago.................. Twin engined fighter-bomber made of radar-absorbing materials with an internal weapons bay able to carry a 4,000lb warload. Lockheed F-117A ??? No - de Havilland Mosquito...... :D Ken
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I would not consider the Mosquito to be "stealthy". However it did give poorer radar returns than say the Meteor. From memory on AI Mk 10 (SCR 720) Mosquito pick up range 5 to 7 miles, Meteor 6 to 10 miles.
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Interesting to note that the Horten flying wing looks very similar to what Kenneth Arnold saw in June 1947...
Since this is in my part of the world, allow me to make some casual (and skeptical) obervations... It seems odd that they would be testing aircraft near the location where Arnold's sighting. He says he saw the saucers near Mt Rainier, just east of Seattle and the site of a national park. There were (and are) much better places to conduct secret work. IF someone was doing testing in that part of the country, it's likely they would have been doing out of the large and rather remote Moses Lake Army Air Field in the central Washington desert and stayed away from more populated areas. Make sense? BTW: Arnolds aircraft, a rare Call Air (the type achieved more fame as a crop sprayer) is now part of Skagit Museum Collection in Western Washington. It's in the collection because it's a rare plane, not because it was Arnold's. Here it is...http://skagitaero.com/aircraft/call-air-a-2/ Notice how the Museum's description downplays the whole UFO issue? Probably to avoid the more fanantical UFO nuts. :)

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[I]Notice how the Museum's description downplays the whole UFO issue? Probably to avoid the more fanantical UFO nuts. :)
And can you blame them. As for the Horten - just another example of the Napkinwaffe.
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And can you blame them?
Not me....I had my fill of them when I was at Bentwaters.