Monday, 8 February 2016

Arado Ar234. The Blitz - other projects. Part 3.

Text found in the internet.
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In mid-December 1943 at the Arado facilities work began on a flying wing project. Straight wings retained their good aerodynamic characteristics only at subsonic speeds. Near-supersonic speeds a new approach to wing geometry. A discussion took place with the RLM in early 1944, and Arado was asked to compile design studies for a high speed long range jet powered bomber. It was realized that the project could best be fulfilled by using a flying wing design with a laminar high speed profile. Five variants of the wing were built, each differing in its sweep. The most advanced work on this project was carried out at Dedelsdorf airbase, where the Ar 234 V16 was being rebuilt as part of this research. The aircraft was destroyed in mid-April 1945 by advancing British troops as they captured the airfield.

Arado 234B-2/N night fighter
Another role that was foreseen for the Ar 234 was that of high-altitude interceptor. A design was prepared based on the Ar 234C-3 with a pressurized cockpit. The technical description was delivered to the RLM on 20th May 1944. Its primary role would have been to engage Allied fighters escorting bombers to lead them away, to allow German fighters to attack the bombers. Another role was to hunt down Mosquito bomber and reconaissance aircraft. However, at this late stage of the war the project remained on the drawing boards only.

Ar 234P model
In the summer of 1944, the RLM had shown interest to convert the Ar 234 into a night fighter. The new variant was based on the Ar 234B-2 airframe. The rear fuselage was adopted to make room for a second crewmember who would operate the airborne radar. The night fighter variant was named Nachtigall, designated with the suffix 'N'. The prototype Ar 234B-2/N, a rebuilt series-production Ar 234B-2, was first flown in November 1944. After a few flights the aircraft was damaged during landing and it was not repaired until early December 1944. On 10th December 1944 the aircraft performed a 25-minutes flight to test the radar equipment. Shortly afterwards another Ar 234B-2 was converted into a night fighter. There were issues to fly the plane at night. The glazed cockpit refracted light, occasionally blinding the pilot. The lack of frontal armor was also cause for concern. After the first prototype had crashed on 13th February 1945, killing both crew, another pilot flew sorties from Oranienburg with the second Ar 234 night-fighter. During operations it became apparent that the radar antennas produced considerable drag, decreasing the aircraft's speed and range.
In addition to the improvised night fighter adaptations of the Ar 234B-2, there were plans to produce a dedicated night fighter based on the four-engined Ar 234C-3. Two prototypes, the V23 and V27 were to be converted to represent Ar 234C-3/Ns fitted with a radar operator station. However, neither of the two prototypes was completed.

In early 1945 it was decided to start development work on a heavy night fighter version based on the Ar 234C airframe, designated the Ar 234P. This version was to feature an armoured cockpit of a new type, with both crewmembers sitting side by side. In the P-1 variant the engines were to be moved 40cm further aft in order to balance the weight of the new cockpit. However, the Ar 234P was another project that never left the designers' drawing boards.
Another variant was the 'D' version, to be powered by two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 engines. As the engines were never developed into series production units, this grounded the entire project.
On 25th October 1944, Arado made several proposals regarding the towing or carrying of the Fieseler Fi 103 flying bomb by the Ar 234C. The Heinkel He 111/Fi 103 combination was just entering service. It was anticipated that the inferior performance of the He 111 would result in severe losses being suffered, and consequently proposals were put forward to use the superior capabilities of the Ar 234.
Arado Ar 234C/Fi 103 on trolley
Arado Ar 234C/Fi 103 Huckepack
Four proposals were put forward by Arado, all using the Ar 234C as the parent aircraft. The first two involved towing the Fi 103 bomb by means of a non-flexible boom attached to the aircraft just below the vertical tail surfaces. In the first, the Fi 103 was mounted on a simple two-wheeled take-off trolley which was jettisoned as soon as the machine left the ground. The second involved a much more sophisticated doly with wings, which remained attached to the missile. The third proposal involved mounting the Ar 234C on top of the Fi 103, the whole suing a special jettison able three-wheeled take-off trolley. The Fi 103 was attached to the parent aircraft by a large under-fuselage fairing plus stabilizing struts positioned between the twin turbojets and at the rear fuselage. The final project involved mounting the Fi 103 on top of the Ar 234C in a so-called "Huckepack" installation. For launching, the Fi 103 was raised above its parent aircraft by a series of hydraulically-operated arms.

Several other projects involving the Ar 234 as a towing machine were put forward. One involved the towing of a special auxiliary fuel tank via a non-flexible boom similar to that used in the first two Ar 234/Fi 103 projects. The Ar 234B-1 was to tow a fuel tank that was fitted with a simple two-wheelded take-off dolly and employed short stubby wings of square planform. The project was known as the "Deichselschlepp", but although tests proved very succesful, there is no record of the scheme being used operationally. Yet another "Deichselschlepp" project proposal involved the towing of a Henschel Hs 294 missile behind the Ar 234C.
Arado Ar 234/E.377 Mistel project
Arado Ar E.377A
Perhaps the most sophisticated of these project was the Ar 234/E.377 Mistel project. The Arado E.377 ('E' indicating Erprobungs or Experimental) was a simple mid-wing monoplane with tapered flying surfaces with an explosive warhead in the nose. The Arado E.377 was to be carried beneath the Ar 234C-3, a special 20-ton Rheinmetall-Borsig trolley being used for take-off. The E.377 possessed no control surfaces, als maneuvers being carried out with the aid of the parent machine. In addition to the Arado 234/E.377 combination, Arado also proposed the use of a powered version of the design to be carried by the Heinkel He 162 Salamander. Designated Arado E.377A, this project was powered by two BMW 003A turbojets.

Another proposal envisioned the Arado Ar 234 carrying a miniature fighter into the range of Allied bomber formations. The E.381 began in a proposal from Arado Flugzeugwerke to the Air Ministry for a parasite fighter, carried underneath another aircraft, to destroy Allied bombers. Three variants of the E.381, named Mark I, II and III, were designed. Each version was essentially an armored tube provided with armament and a Walter HWK 109-509 rocket engine for power. The aircraft would have carried enough fuel for two approaches to the target as well as a number of 30 mm rounds. After using all his fuel during an attack it was intended that the pilot would glide the fighter to the ground, deploy its drogue parachute, and land the aircraft on a primitive skid landing gear. None of the designs were ever completed due to its cancellation, though some wooden airframes and a single mockup were constructed in 1944 to provide prone-position training for pilots. The E.381 was cancelled due to a lack of funds and interest by the Ministry of Aviation, along with a scarcity of the mother Ar 234C aircraft.
Arado Ar E.381 mock-up under Ar 234
Arado Ar 234C/E.381

  • Arado: Geschichte eines Flugzeugwerks; author Jörg Armin Kranzhoff
  • German Aircraft Industry and Production 1933 - 1945; authors Ferenc A. Vajda, Peter Dancey
  • Aircraft Profile No. 215: Arado 234 Blitz; author Richard P. Bateson
  • Arado 234 Blitz (vol I & II); authors Marek J. Murawski, Marek Rys
  • Blitz!: Germany's Arado Ar 234 Jet Bomber; authors J. Richard Smith, Eddie J. Creek
  • American Raiders; author Wolfgang W.E. Samuel