Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 08:34 am GMT -6 Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 08:34 am GMT -6Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 08:34 am GMT -6
 
Horten Ho 229

This is an amazing four part video of a recreated Horten jet-powered flying wing.

 

 

 

Hitler’s Stealth Fighter

Top stealth-plane experts have re-created a radical, nearly forgotten Nazi aircraft: the Horten 229, a retro-futuristic fighter that arrived too late in World War II to make it into mass production. The engineers’ goal was to determine whether the so-called stealth fighter was truly radar resistant. In the process, they have uncovered new clues to just how close Nazi engineers were to unleashing a jet that some say could have changed the course of the war.

To replicate the Ho 229, a team from the Northrop Grumman defense-contracting corporation used original Nazi blueprints and the only surviving Ho 229, which has been stored in a U.S. government facility for more than 50 years.

The all-wing Ho 229 looked more like today’s U.S. B-2 bomber – or something from a Star Wars prequel – than like any other World War II aircraft. Made primarily of wood and powered by jet engines, the plane was designed for speeds of up to 970 kilometers an hour (600 miles an hour).

Armed with four 30mm cannons and two 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) bombs, the planned production model was also meant to pack a punch.

A Ho 229 prototype made a successful test flight just before Christmas 1944. But by then time was running out for the Nazis, and they were never able to perfect the design or produce more than a handful of prototype planes.

Stealth?

Determining the Horten’s stealth capabilities could help reveal what might have happened if the Ho 229 had been unleashed in force.

Lead designer Reimar Horten was a glider designer “obsessed with the all-wing [design] because of the possibilities it created for low drag and exceptional performance,” said Florida-based aviation historian David Myhra, who interviewed the Horten pair numerous times from the early 1980s until their deaths in the late 1990s.

To determine once and for all whether the Ho 229 had stealth capabilities, experts first examined the surviving 229 and probed it with a portable radar unit based on World War II radar tech.

Then, in the fall and winter of 2008, they set about building the full-scale re-creation at a restricted-access Northrop Grumman testing facility in California’s Mojave Desert.

The construction team embraced historic materials and techniques, and the Horten 229 replica, like the original, is made largely of wood and bonded with glue and nails.

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