17 flying secret "Junkers"
16 August 1944, a Junkers test pilot Siegfried Holzbauer, for the first time, lifted an unusual machine in all respects. It was the Junkers Ju-287 - the world's first bomber with a forward swept wing, and with turbojet engines.
The end of 1942. Before the collapse of the German group at Stalingrad - a month and a half. And until the end of the war - a long two and a half years. The top leadership of the Third Reich and the Wehrmacht command have no thoughts so far that the strategic situation will not change in Germany’s favor. Moreover, the development of new types of weapons and military equipment, including aviationto use them to capture new territories. It was then that the chief aerodynamicist of the Junkers company, Hans Wocke, received a responsible task.
The candidacy was not chosen by chance. This talented engineer and designer was the closest assistant of the well-known aviation specialist Brunolf Baade (Brunolf Baade, 1904 – 1969, professor, Ph.D., chief designer of Junkers jets, working in this field since 1936). The essence of the task assigned to Herr Vokk is to develop a draft bomber, which would not be equal in the world. Equipped with four Jumo-004 turbojets, the plane was supposed to have an unprecedented speed for that time — at least 800 kilometers per hour.
Fantasy? Let's not rush to conclusions. The Ministry of Aviation approved the project, which received the name Ju-287. Its main feature was that it decided to use the wing of variable sweep. Experimental studies were carried out with both forward and reverse swept wings. Although the first and second had their flaws ...
So, 16 August 1944, test pilot Siegfried Holzbauer from Brandis airfield near Leipzig for the first time lifted an unusual machine into the air. It was the Junkers Ju-287 - the world's first bomber with a backward swept wing. All such flights were performed 17.
The new "Junkers" showed unprecedented speed, especially for its class of cars - 780 kilometers per hour. This meant that it was virtually inaccessible to all Western fighters. The bomber's flight distance exceeded one and a half thousand kilometers, climb rate - 580 meters per minute. The length of the device - 18,3 meters, height - 4,7, wingspan - 20,11 meters. The weight of the unloaded aircraft - 12,5 tons, equipped with - 20.
A big plus with the swept wing, the Ju-287, is the placement of a bomb bay 4,6 long meters in front of the center section, near the center of gravity. Bombolyuk could hold up to four tons of bombs. The gun-gun armament of the aircraft was two MG-131 (Maschinengewehr 131) machine gun machine guns of 13 millimeters caliber (developed by Rheinmetall AG 1938). The bomber was equipped with four Jumo-004B engines. The entire fuel supply was located in tanks located in the fuselage.
To speed up the production of "two hundred and eighty-seven," ready-made units from serial aircraft went into action. However, the forward swept wing, which reached 25 degrees on the leading edge, was designed specifically for the new car. They took the fuselage from the Heinkel's Non-177AZ as a basis, and the tail plumage was borrowed from the Ju-188. Since the chassis was hidden in the wing, which required increased rigidity, it was difficult to find a way out by using non-removable supports. A two-wheeled nose strut chassis, without further ado, was taken from the captured American bomber Liberator B-24. The main racks with wheels borrowed from the transport plane Ju-352 Herkules. As they say, with the world on a thread. All these and other improvements were made in April 1944.
In May, a meeting was held in Obersalzburg, 1944, at which the progress of work on the Ju-287 project was discussed. The leading designer of the company “Junkers”, Professor Hertel, reported to the Reich Minister of Aviation Göring: the assembly is over, in the coming days the aircraft will be delivered to Brandis airfield. Three months later, the Ju-287 first flew.
Interestingly, studies carried out much later at our Central Hydro-Aerodynamic Institute (TsAGI) showed that the development of a stall flow in the root of the backward-swept wing can be weakened by installing horizontal tail feathers in front of the wing or using the front wing gush. By the way, these ideas have already been implemented in our days on an experimental aircraft of the OKB Design Bureau. Sukhoi Su-47 "Berkut".
However, the path from the Herr Vokke project to its implementation was not easy. In October 1944, Goering ordered to stop work on the bomber, and all efforts to refocus on the release of air defense fighters. But at the start of 1945, a new order unexpectedly followed: to prepare high-volume aircraft production.
Work on the experienced Ju-287 V2 and the prototype of the series continued in small Junkers factories on the outskirts of Leipzig, near Brandis airfield. The wings of the Ju-287 V2 remained the same as on the first plane, but the fuselage, the plumage and the chassis, which completely retract into the fuselage, were new. In this case, the wheel of the front pillar when turning turned 90 degrees.
There were only two crew members at the Ju-287 V1 flying lab, the Ju-287 V2 and V3 had three people each, and they were located in the press cage on the last car. On the V3 variant, a tail tower with two already mentioned 13-mm MG-131 remote-controlled machine guns was provided. They were aimed at the target with a periscope sight. When the flight to Brandis ended, the Ju-287 V1 was overtaken to the Rechlin airbase, where the tests continued.
In preparing the serial production at the stands of the Junkers factories, they tested various units and systems, including fuel. At the same time, various evolutions in flight were modeled, including upward with a keel. The hydraulic system was also thoroughly researched, taking into account the alleged damage, pressure jerks and unnormalized overloads. The design and technological documentation was fully prepared and partially sent to the plants.
Despite the bombings and in this connection the permanent relocations of enterprises throughout the country, in the production units lay units and assemblies of aircraft ready for installation. On the territory of Saxony, Anhalt and Thuringia, dozens of small factories and plants were ready for the start of the mass production of Ju-287.
But time worked inexorably against the authors and creators of the project. It so happened that it was in Saxony, near the town of Torgau, on the banks of the Elbe 25 on April 1945, that Soviet and American troops met for the first time. In the world, this meeting was perceived as evidence that until the collapse of the "thousand-year Reich" and the end of the war there were only a few days left.
After the capitulation of Germany, the secrets of the four-engine, reactive Junkers-287 ceased to be so. They took possession of the Anglo-American allies. Got such a plane and the Soviet side. Later our specialists got acquainted with the reports of test pilots Pangerz and Wendt about the flights made by 8 and 13 of September 1944 of the year. And after the war, in 1947-m at the airfield of the Moscow Region LII, the former test pilot of the company "Junkers", and then the plant number 1, Paul Yulge said that he also performed several flights on this plane.
Be that as it may, in stories German and world aviation Ju-287 remained as an experimental aircraft of the original design, although some of the solutions found were implemented and improved later - at new stages in the development of world aviation.
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