Focke-Wulf Fw 190 – Design and Prototypes

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was designed in response for a request for a ‘back-up’ to the Messerschmitt Bf 109, and went on to be one of the most important German military aircraft of the Second World War, with around 20,000 produced.

Work on the basic design began late in 1937, in response to an RLM requirement for an aircraft to serve alongside or perhaps replace the Bf 109, which was then on the verge of entering service. Focke-Wulf’s chief designer, Kurt Tank, came up with a number of designs, using either the inline Daimler Benz DB601 or the radial BMW 139. He wanted to produce a robust fighter that could be used from rough airfields, could sustain more battle damage than the Bf 109 or Spitfire, and be easier to maintain. The new aircraft was designed as an air superiority fighter, for use against enemy fighters, and didn’t entirely fit into the Luftwaffe’s philosophy at the time – the Germans expected any war to be short, and the Luftwaffe to be used as ‘flying artillery’, to support the advancing blitzkrieg.

Although the use of radial engines in fighters was rare in Europe, it was the standard policy in the US Navy since the early 1920s, so Tank knew that radial engine fighters could work. Although the examples in service in 1937, the biplane Grumman F3F and Brewster F2A Buffalo weren’t the most impressive examples of the type, the excellent F4F Wildcat was already under development, and made its maiden flight nine months before the Fw 190. The use of the BMW engine may also have helped convince the RLM to order the Fw 190, as it wouldn’t have made any demand on production of the existing inline engines.

The Fw 190 was originally powered by the BMW 139 eighteen cylinder two-row radial engine. Cooling was to be provided by a cooling fan placed in front of the engine, but the first prototype was given a bullet shaped ducted spinner which was meant to direct air to the hottest parts of the engines. The spinner was faired neatly into the front of the fuselage, with the propeller blades emerging from its sides, and a large air intake in the tip. This didn’t really work, and was soon replaced by a standard spinner, with the cooling left to the fan. The pilot’s cockpit was placed immediately behind the engine fire wall. 

The Fw 190 was a low wing monoplane, of all metal construction apart from the fabric covered control surfaces. The cockpit canopy had very few obstructions, giving the pilot good all round view when in flight, although the bulky nose meant that the forward view while on the ground was poor. All of the crucial systems could easily be reached through hinged maintenance panels.

Focke-Wulf named all of their aircraft after birds. In the case of the Fw 190 they chose the Würger, or Shrike. This name was rarely used in wartime Germany, but since the war has gained the aircraft an alternative English nickname, the ‘Butcher-bird’. This name for the Shrike isn’t used in German, so really shouldn’t be applied to the Fw 190. However Würger does come from the same roots as the German for strangler!

The Fw 190 had a sturdy wide track undercarriage, with a gap of 11.5 feet between the wheels. Each led retracted inwards, and was powered by its own electric motor. The wide wheel span meant that the Fw 190 was easier to land than the Bf 109 (or Spitfire), which made it more suitable for use on rough airfields. The undercarriage was designed to take a heavier load than was originally required, as Tank expected the aircraft to grow in weight over its lifespan.

From the start the Fw 190 had an almost ‘bubble’ canopy, with a minimum of frames to obscure the pilot’s view. The canopy was made in two parts. The largest part was almost entirely glazed, and sloped neatly back to merge into the rear fuselage, which was lower than the pilot’s head, giving a good rear view. This entire section could slide backwards to open the cockpit. The front part was split into three panels – the front windscreen and two angled side panels, fixed to the fuselage. The Fw 190 pilot thus had a much less restricted view than most of his contemporaries – in comparison the cockpits on the Hawker Hurricane and Messerschmitt Bf 109 had heavy frames and the top of the cockpit was level with the rear fuselage. The original Spitfire cockpit canopy was similar in concept, although the rear fuselage was higher compared to the pilot’s viewpoint. Both aircraft would later be given new cockpit canopies to improve the view – in the case of the Spitfire a full ‘bubble’ canopy combined with a cut down rear fuselage would remove all obstructions to the view above the aircraft, while the Fw 190 got a ‘blown’ canopy, which gave the pilot more headroom.

V1 made its maiden flight on 1 June 1939, piloted by Focke-Wulf’s chief test pilot Hans Sander. The new aircraft immediately impressed its pilots, who particularly noted its good handling characteristics and manoeuvrability. One problem that was discovered was that heat from the engine leaked into the cockpit, which was directly behind the engine firewall. On the test flight Sander reported feeling cooked.

Like many new aircraft of the period, the Fw 190 suffered from problems with its engines. The BMW 139 wasn’t living up to expectations, and BMW wanted to use the more powerful BMW 801. This was a longer and heavier engine, which required a redesign of the fuselage, making it longer, and increasing the gap between the engine and cockpit. This created a gap that was large enough to carry fuselage mounted guns, originally a pair of 7.92mm machine guns.  This gap also solved the cockpit overheating problems, creating a buffer between the hot engine and the pilot.

The decision to switch to the BMW 801 was made before the V1 had been completed, but it was decided to complete V1 and V2 with the existing engine and then work on a new fifth prototype, V5, which would be the first to use the BMW 801.

V5 made its maiden flight in April 1940. The changes made to install the heavier engine increased the wing loading of the aircraft, reducing the impressive manoeuvrability of V1 and V2. The longer engine also reduced the pilot’s forward view when on the ground (something that would only get worse with the long nosed Fw 190D and Ta 152). The solution to this problem was to increase the span and chord of the wing, to reduce wing loading back to the original levels. This did reduce the aircraft’s rate of roll, but not by much, and also slightly reduced the aircraft’s top speed. V5 was later given the new 10.5m wing after suffering from an accident.

Early in its career the BMW 801 proved to be rather unreliable, reducing the availability of the early models of the Fw 190, but once these early problems were ironed out it became a reliable engine, and was used in the Fw 190A fighter and the various ground attack versions of the aircraft.

Focke Wulf received an order for three prototypes in the summer of 1938. In the spring of 1939 a fourth was added, and an order for 40 pre-production aircraft followed after early flights of the first two prototypes. However it isn’t clear how many of these were actually built as A-0s, with the most reliable figure appearing to be 28. Some of these got the smaller wing, while aircraft from W.Nr.0015 onwards got the longer wing.

Some of these Fw 190A-0s went to the service evaluation unit Erpobungsstaffel 190, where the problems with the BMW 801 engine almost ended the entire programme. At one point representatives from the RLM actually recommended cancelling the Fw 190, but Focke-Wulf and BMW were able to solve most of the early problems, and production was allowed to continue. When the Fw 190 entered service in the west late in 1941 it soon proved itself to be superior to the Spitfire V, causing something of a crisis for the RAF (and forced the rapid development of more capable models of the Spitfire). The Fw 190 remained a dangerous opponent for the rest of the war, although the limits of the BMW engine did mean that the Allies eventually overtook it. Even so, it was generally seen as superior to the late models of the Bf 109, which were very difficult for all but the best of pilots to operate.

Fw 190 Variants

Fw 190A

The Fw 190A was the first production version of the aircraft. It was originally designed purely as a fighter, powered by the BMW 801 radial. It remained in production for most of the Second World War, and appeared in a wide range of variants, getting a slightly longer fuselage, new wing, more reliable engines and the ability to serve as a fighter bomber along the way.

Fw 190B

The Fw 190B was an attempt to improve the high altitude performance of the BMW 801 powered version of the aircraft by giving it a longer wing, GM-1 engine boost and a pressurised cabin, but it wasn’t successful.

Fw 190C

The Fw 190C was the second attempt to improve the high altitude performance of the aircraft, and used the Daimler Benz DB 603 inline engine, but never got beyond the prototype stage.

Fw 190D

The Fw 190D was the successful third attempt to improve the high altitude performance of the aircraft and used a Junkers Jumo 213 engine with a anular radiator that allowed the aircraft to keep its standard radial powered appearance. Although the ‘Dora’ has become a famous aircraft, it entered service in the late summer of 1944 in fairly small numbers, and thus had little impact on the fighting.

Fw 190E

The Fw 190E might have been the designation for a dedicated reconnaissance version of the aircraft, but none were produced.

Fw 190F

The Fw 190F was an armoured ground attack version of the aircraft, produced to replace the Ju 87 Stuka.

Fw 190G

The Fw 190G was a long range fighter bomber version, eventually phased out in favour of the Fw 190F.

Fw 190H

The Fw 190H was a proposal for a high altitude version of the aircraft with a DB 603G engine

Fw 190S

The Fw 190S was the designation given to a small number of two-man trainers produced to help convert pilots from the Ju 87.

Fw 190 Prototypes

Fw 190 V1 (W.Nr.0001)

The V1 was the first prototype and was completed with the original BMW 139 engine. This was an eighteen cylinder twin row radial engine, and its choice appealed to the German authorities because it made no demands on production of the inline DB 601 engine used on the Bf 109. V1 made its maiden flight on 1 June 1939, piloted by Focke-Wulf’s chief test pilot Hans Sander, and made a positive impression on its first flight. The only major flaw was that the ten bladed cooling fan for the engine hadn’t been ready in time, so the cockpit reached a temperature of 130 degrees F! The V1 was unarmed, but the type was originally expected to be armed with two 7.92mm and two 13mm machine guns, all carried in the wings. It was originally built with the ducted spinner, but after this was proved to have no impact on cooling in competitive trials in January 1940 and also slow the aircraft it was replaced with a normal radial engine cowling and standard small spinner.

Fw 190 V2

The V2 made its maiden flight in October 1939 and joined the test programme in November 1939. It was built with the ducted spinner and BMW 139, and in January 1940 was used in comparative trials that proved that the spinner slowed the aircraft down and had little impact on the engine over-heating problems. It was then given a normal propeller spinner and ten blade cooling fan at the start of 1940. It was damaged in a crash on 2 March 1940 after only 50 flight hours, and was then used for weapons trials. It was the first prototype to be armed, carrying one 7.92mm MG 17 in each wing root.

Fw 190 V3 to V4

V3 and V4 were to have been powered by the BMW 139, but work on them was scrapped after the BMW 801 engine was adopted. Both were only in the early stages of construction when they were cancelled. V3 was used for spare parts, while V4 was destruction tested.

Fw 190 V5

The V5 was the first prototype to be powered by the BMW 801. This engine had a similar diameter to the BMW 139, but was heavier and longer, so the aircraft was lengthened. It had the ten bladed cooling fan, and was armed with two 7.9mm MG 17 machine guns carried in the wing roots. The V5 made its maiden flight in April 1940. The longer nose reduced the pilot’s view forward and down, but reduced the heat in the cockpit. This aircraft was demonstrated to Herman Goering, who was so impressed that the Luftwaffe soon ordered 18 Fw 190A-0 pre-production aircraft and 100 Fw 190A-1 production aircraft.

The V5 was damaged during a landing accident, and during the repairs a new wing with a wider span and increased surface area was installed, in order to return the aircraft’s wing loading to its original level and compensate for the heavier BMW 801, which ad reduced the aircraft’s performance. The original version was then known as the Fw 190V-5k (kleiner/ small) and the rebuilt version as the V-5g (grosser or large). The larger wing became the standard version, and was introduced during the production run of the Fw 190A-0 pre-production aircraft. The larger wing and the more powerful engine gave the V5 better handling characteristics and a faster rate of climb than the V1.

Fw 190 V6 (W.Nr.0006)

The V6 was powered by the BMW 801 C and had the original shorter wing. The first engine only lasted for nine flights before it failed, and had to be replaced with a second engine.

Fw 190 V7

V7 was the first prototype for the Fw 190A-1. It was powered by a BMW 801C engine and carried four MG 17 machine guns – two in the fuselage and two in the wing roots and two 20mm MG FF cannons in the outer wings.

Fw 190 V12

The V12 was later chosen as the prototype for the Fw 190B. Work began on replacing its 34ft 5.25in wings with the longer 40ft 8.25in wings chosen for the Fw 190B, but construction halted before it was complete, and four A-0s were used instead.

Fw 190 V13 (Werke Nr. 0036), SK+HS or SK+JS

V13 was the first prototype for the Fw 190C and was given a 1,750hp Daimler-Benz DB 603 inline engine. It made its maiden flight in February 1942, and was written off after five months due to crash damage suffered on 30 July 1942. V13 had a longer nose, and a large air intake below the engine cowling for the oil cooler.

Fw 190 V16 (W.Nr.0038)

V16 was probably one of the early prototypes for the DB 603 powered Fw 190C, although some sources make it a prototype for the Fw 190B-0.

Fw 190 V 17 (W.Nr.0039)

V17 was the first prototype for the Junkers Jumo 213 powered versions of the aircraft. It was given an early Jumo 213 at some point in the spring of 1942, and was flying by the end of the year (the exact date is unclear).

After V15 and V16 were taken over by the Air Ministry for tests at Rechlin it was decided to give it a Daimler-Benz DB 603 to allow Focke-Wulf to continue with the development of the Fw 190C.

Fw 190 V17/U1

Early in 1944 it was decided to use V17 as the first prototype for the Fw 190D. The DB 603 engine was removed and the Jumo 213 installed in April-May 1944, and the modified prototype, now designated as the V17/U1 made its maiden flight on 17 May 1944. It was flown to the air ministry test centre at Rechlin on 6 June, where it was tested from 11 June-6 July.

Fw 190 V18 (Werke Nr. 0040) CF+OY

As with V17, it had originally been planed to fit V18 with the Jumo 213 inline engine, but after V15 and V16 were taken over V18 was also chosen for the Fw 190C programme, becoming V18/U1

Fw 190 V18/U1

In this configuration it was given a DB 603 engine, with a Hirth TK 11 turbosupercharger carried below the fuselage to boost power to 2,000hp. Production versions of this aircraft would also get larger wings and a pressure cabin. V18/U1 gained the nickname ‘Kangaroo’ because of the large under-fuselage fairing for the TK 11. It also gained a large VDM four-bladed propeller and a larger tailfin. It made its maiden flight in the new configuration on 20 December 1942, but at this stage a combination of bad weather and overheating problems meant that the test flights were short. Later tests produced a top speed of 416mph at 36,100ft, but the programme was cancelled on 26 January 1943 in favour of the Fw 190D.

Fw 190 V18/U2 (CF+OY)

The aircraft was later used as the fourth prototype for the Ta 152H. It was flight cleared on 18 October 1944, but crashed on 11 November.  

Fw 190 V19

V19 became the first prototype for what became the Ta 152A. It was give a Jumo 213A engine, a new tail and a 50cm longer fuselage and made its maiden flight on 7 July 1943 as an engine test-bed. The aircraft was used for a series of tests, but was then damaged in a crash on 16 February 1944 after the right undercarriage failed. The damage was repaired and the aircraft remained in use.

Fw 190 V 20(W.Nr.0042)

V20 was involved in testing the Jumo 213 engine, and played a part in the development of the Fw 190D and Ta 152A.

V20 (TI-IG) became the second prototype for the Ta 152A. It was given the Jumo 213 CV engine, which was able to carry a cannon firing through the propeller, and was unarmed. It made its maiden flight in this configuration on 23 November 1943 and was used for engine checks, speed trials and fuel and hydraulic tests.

The aircraft then became one of the prototypes for the Ta 152H, as the V20/U1. It was being converted at the Langehagen facility when it was destroyed in the air raid of 5 August 1944.

Fw 190 V 21

V21 was involved in testing the Jumo 213 engine, and played a part in the development of the Fw 190D and Ta 152A.

V21 then became the third prototype for the Ta 152A It was given a Jumo 213 CB engine, 50cm longer fuselage, a new tail and was unarmed. It made its maiden flight on 13 March 1944. In tests it reached 335mph at sea level, before being transferred to the RLM test station at Rechlin on 5 May 1944.

The aircraft then became the first prototype for the Ta 152C, with the designation Fw 190 V21/U1. It was powered by a 1,800hp Daimler-Benz DB 603E engine, and made its maiden flight in this configuration on 3 November 1944. The aircraft was then handed over to Daimler Benz on 19 November to have the DB 603LA engine installed.

Fw 190 V 22

V22 was one of two prototypes allocated to the Fw 190D-1. When the D-1 project was cancelled, so was V22.

Fw 190 V 23

V22 was one of two prototypes allocated to the Fw 190D-1. When the D-1 project was cancelled, so was V23

Fw 190 V 25

V25 was involved in testing the Jumo 213 engine, and played a part in the development of the Fw 190D.

Fw 190 V26

V26 was one of two prototypes allocated to the pressurized Fw 190D-2. When the D-2 project was cancelled, so was V26

Fw 190 V27

V27 was one of two prototypes allocated to the pressurized Fw 190D-2. When the D-2 project was cancelled, so was V27

Fw 190 V29 (Werke Nr.0054) CF+KS/ GH+KS

V29 was originally built as the second prototype for the Fw 190C with Hirth TK 11 turbosupercharger. It had a DB 603 S engine. It was sent to Hirth in June 1943 for use as a static turbosupercharger development aircraft.

It then became a prototype for the Ta 152H, as V29/U1 (GH+KS). It had long span wings, a pressurized cabin, Jumo 213E engine, engine mounted 30mm MK 108 cannon and two wing mounted 20mm MG 151/20. It was completed in this configuration on 23 September 1944 and flight cleared on 3 November 1944. In January 1945 Friedrich Schnier got this aircraft to an altitude of 13,654m.

Fw 190 V30 (Werke Nr.0055) CF+KT

V30 was the third Fw 190C with TK 11 prototype, and the second to fly, making its maiden flight on 22 October 1943. It was powered by the DB 603 S-1 engine.

The aircraft then became a prototype for the Ta 152H, as V30/U1, GH+KT. It was given a Jumo 213E engine. It was flight cleared on 6 August 1944 but crashed on 13 August. 

Fw 190 V31 (Werke Nr.0056) GH+KU

V31 was the fourth TK 11 prototype, but was written off soon after entering the test programme, after crashing on 29 April 1943.

Fw 190 V32 (Werke Nr.0057) GH+KV

V32 was completed in November 1943. It used the DB 603 S-1 and was armed with two MG 151s in the wing roots, for use as an armament test bed.

The aircraft was then rebuilt at V32/U2, this time with a Jumo 213E engine, Mk 213 rapid firing 20mm cannon and the wings from Ta 152 V25. This work was completed in November 1944.

Fw 190 V33 (Werke Nr.0058) GH+KW

V33 was completed just as all Hirth turbosupercharger equipped aircraft were taken over for the Ta 152 development programme (late 1943/ early 1944?).

V33 was then given the Jumo 213 E-1, as V33/U1, a prototype for the Ta 152H-0. It was flight cleared in this configuration on 12 July 1944 but crashed on the following day.

Fw 190 V35, Fw 190 V36

Prototypes for proposed high altitude high performance A-9, developed from A-8. These two were powered by the BMW 801F-1 engine, but this engine had problems so later examples got standard BMW 801 TS/TH.

Fw 190 V53 (W.Nr.170003)

V53 was the second prototype for the Fw 190D. It was produced by modifying a new Fw 190A-8, giving it a Jumo 213 CV engine. This version of the engine could carry a cannon that fired through the propeller hub. V53 was also armed with two 13mm machine guns above the engine and four 20mm MG 151 cannon in the wings. It made its maiden flight on 12 June 1944, but was then damaged in an American bombing raid on Langenhagen on 5 August 1944. At the time the aircraft had been selected for conversion into V68, armed with MK 103 cannon in the wing roots as part of the development programme for the Ta 152B.

Fw 190 V54 (W.Nr.174024)

V54 was the third prototype for the Fw 190D. It was also produced by converting an A-8, and was given the MW 50 water-methanol boost system. This involving injecting a mix of water, methanol and anti-corrosives into the supercharger, and could be used for up to ten minutes at a time. Its use raised the engine power from 1,750hp to over 2,000hp and the top speed of the D-9 from 360mph to 426mph, although at the cost of increased engine wear. The V54 was destroyed in the same American bombing raid on Langenhagen on 5 August 1944.

Fw 190 V55 (W.Nr.170923)

This was the first prototype of the D-11, powered by a Jumo 213 F-1 engine with three stage turbo-supercharger and MW-50 injection, and armed with two 20mm MG 151/20 cannon and two 13 mm MG 131 MGs.

Fw 190 V56 (W.Nr.170924)

This was the second prototype for the D-11. It had the fuselage mounted MG 131s removed, and wing mounted 30mm MK 108 cannon added in outer wings; the same guns were carried on all further prototypes of the D-11 apart from V60

Fw 190 V 57 (W.Nr.170926)

This was a D-11 prototype, rebuilt from an A-8

Fw 190 V 58 (W.Nr.170933)

This was a D-11 prototype similar to V 57

Fw 190 V 59 (W.Nr.350156)

This was a D-11 prototype similar to V 57 and V 58

Fw 190 V 60 (W.Nr.350157)

This was an unarmed D-11 prototype.
 
Fw 190 V 61 (W.Nr.350158)

This was a D-11 prototype that was delivered to Junkers Moternwerke for engine trials.

Fw 190 V 62 (W.Nr.732053)

This was a D-13 prototype, converted from an A-8

Fw 190 V 63 (W.Nr.350165)

A D-12 prototype

Fw 190 V 64 (W.Nr.350166)

A D-12 prototype

Fw 190 V 65 (W.Nr.350167)

A D-12 prototype

Fw 190 V68 (W.Nr.170003)

This aircraft had originally been built as a Fw 190A-8. It then became a prototype for the Fw 190D-9, as V53. It was then chosen as a development aircraft for the Ta-152B-5. This saw it given a Jumo 213E engine and three 30mm MK 103 cannon, one in the engine and two in the wings, with the new designation V68. The aircraft was then destroyed in the US bombing raid of 5 August 1944.

Fw 190 V69

V69 was a Fw 190F-8 (W.Nr.582072) that was used for tests with experimental weapons. It carried out the first test firing of the Ruhrstahl/ Kramer X-4 missile on 11 August 1944 and the Rheinmetall-Borsig RZ 65 Föhn Rocket.

Fw 190 V70

The V70 was also used to test the X-4.

Fw 190 V 71 (W.Nr.732054),

D-13 prototype, converted from A-8

Fw 190 V73

The V73 was probably the last Focke-Wulf aircraft flown by their most famous test pilot Hans Sander, in April 1945.

Fw 190 V74

V74 was a Fw 190A prototype with a seven barrelled 30mm SG117 Rohrblock cannon aimed by a Revi 242 gun sight. The SG 117 consisted of seven tubes arranged in a cluster, each carrying one 30mm shell.

Fw 190 V75

190A prototype with seven 17.72in (45cm) downward firing mortars, designed for anti-tank work from about 30 ft!

Fw 190 V 76 (W.Nr.210040)

D-14 prototype, converted from D-9 or D-12

Fw 190 V 77 (210043),

D-14 prototype, converted from D-9 or D-12

Ta prototypes

The original plan was for the 110000 block of aircraft to be used as prototypes, with their V number matching their work number (110001 to be V1 etc) but the first five of these were cancelled, and replaced with aircraft from the 150000 block, so V1 was 150001, but V6 was 110006.

Ta 152 V1 (W.Nr.150001) CW+CA

This was the first prototype of the Ta 152H, completed in June 1944 as an H-1. It went to Langenhagen for flight testing, making its maiden flight on 21 November 1944

Ta 152 V2 (W.Nr.150002) CW+CB

V2 was a prototype for the H2, first flown on 23 November 1944 and used for stress tests

Ta 152 V3 (W.Nr.150003) CW+CC

V3 was a Ta 152H-1 with steel wings. It made its maiden flight on 3 December 1944

Ta 152 V4 (W.Nr.150004) CW+CD

V4 was a prototype for the H-0/R11, and made its maiden flight on 17 December 1944. In March 1945 it was expected to use this aircraft to test out another increase in the length of the fuselage.

Ta 152 V5 (W.Nr.150005) CW+CE

V5 was a prototype for the H-1, powered by a Jumo 213E engine.

Ta 152 V 6 (W.Nr.110006),
 
V6 was a prototype for the Ta 152C-1. It made its first flight on 17 December 1944. In March 1945 it was expected to use this aircraft for tests with the DB 603 LA engine with an integral engine cowling.

Ta 152 V 7 (W.Nr.110007) with all weather equipment

V7 was a prototype of the Ta 152C-1 with all weather equipment, and made its first flight on 5 January 1945. In March 1945 it was expected that this aircraft would be used to tests with the DB 603 LA, integral engine cowling and torpedo carrying equipment.

Ta 152 V 8 (W.Nr.110008) with EZ 42 gun sight

V8 was a prototype Ta 152C with EZ 42 gun sight. It was flight cleared on 14 January 1945.

Ta 152 V 9 (W.Nr.110009)

V9 was a prototype for the Ta 152E-1, to be built with cameras, MW 50 boost, a drop tank, FuG 15 and FuG 25a radar, one 30mm and two 20mm cancelled. Cancelled before completion.

Ta 152 V10 (W.Nr.110010)

Unknown

Ta 152 V11 (W.Nr.110011)

Unknown

Ta 152 V12 (W.Nr.110012)

Unknown

Ta 152 V 13 (W.Nr.110113)

V13 was a prototype for the Ta 152C-1, but was probably not completed.

Ta 152 V 14 (W.Nr.110014)

Prototype Ta 152E-1, similar to the V9, cancelled before being completed.

Ta 152 V 15

V15 was a prototype for the Ta 152C-1, but was probably not completed.

Ta 152 V 16 (W.Nr.110016)

V16 was a prototype for the Ta 152 C-2 or C-3, but was cancelled in December 1944

Ta 152 V 17 (W.Nr.110017)

V17 was a prototype for the Ta 152 C-2 or C-3, but was cancelled in December 1944

Ta 152 V 18 (W.Nr.110018)

V18 was a prototype for the Ta 152 C-2, but was probably not completed. In March 1945 it was listed as a prototype for the use of integral engine cowling and a wooden tail.

Ta 152 V19 (W.Nr.110019)

V19 was originally a prototype for the C-3, but this was changed to the B-5/R11 after the C-3 was cancelled. It was to be completed in March 1945

Ta 152 V20 (W.Nr.110020)

V20 was originally a prototype for the C-3, but this was changed to the B-5/R11 after the C-3 was cancelled. It was to be completed in March 1945

Ta 152 V21 (W.Nr.110021)

V21 was originally a prototype for the C-3, but this was changed to the B-5/R11 after the C-3 was cancelled. It was to be completed in April 1945

Ta 152 V22 (W.Nr.110022)

V22 was ordered as a prototype Ta 152C-4 with a FuG 15 radio, but was probably not completed

Ta 152 V23 (W.Nr.110023)

V23 was ordered as a prototype Ta 152C-4, but was probably not completed

Ta 152 V24 (W.Nr.110024)

V24 was ordered as a prototype Ta 152C-4, but was probably not completed

Ta 152 V25 (W.Nr.110025)

V25 was to have been a prototype for the Ta 152H with GM1 and wing fuel tanks, but its wings were later taken for use on Fw 190 V32/U2

V26 W.Nr.110021

Prototype of the Ta 152E-2 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, using H series wings and carrying cameras. May have been completed in March 1945, but as a H-10.

Ta 152 V 27 (W.Nr.150030)

V27 was originally a prototype Ta 152 C-3, W.Nr.150027. This was cancelled, and a new aircraft, W.Nr.150030, was authorised as a prototype for the Ta 152H-1. This aircraft was lost on 2 February 1945.

Ta 152 V 28 (W.Nr.150031)

V28 was originally a prototype Ta 152 C-3, W.Nr.150028. This was cancelled, and a new aircraft, W.Nr.150031, was authorised as a prototype for the Ta 152H-1.

Ta 152H V 29

In March 1945 this was listed as a test bed for the pressurized cockpit. It was probably never built.

Ta 152 V32

This planned prototype was to have had fuel and MW 50 tanks in the wings, integral engine cowling and a Jume 213 E-1 engine.

Special Weapons

The rugged Fw 190 was the ideal aircraft to test out a series of experimental weapons,

Blohm & Voss Bv 246 Hagelkorn (Hailstone)

The Bv 246 was an unpowered flying bomb designed to glide to its target on very narrow wings with a span of 21ft and chord of 9.25in. It contained a gyroscopic guidance system to keep the glider on course and could be steered from the launch aircraft using a FuG 103 radio. Four Fw 190s were used to test the system in the summer of 1944, but the project was incomplete at the end of the war.

Panzerblitz R4M Orkahn

The R4M Orkan was an air-to-air unguided rocket for use against Allied bomber formations. Two versions were used on the Fw 190 – the PB1 with fixed fin 80mm rockets using extended launch rails and the PB2 with folded fin rockets on more compact pallets. The Fw 190 could carry fourteen under each wing, and they could be fired in salvoes of six or seven rockets. Although some were used by Fw 190s, most went to the Me 262.

Ruhrstahl/ Kramer X-4 Missile

The X-4 was a wire-guided air-to-air missile. It carried a 20kg warhead that needed to be within 26ft of its target to be effective. One was carried under each wing of a Fw 190, connected to the control mechanism by 8.5km of fire wire. When the rocket was launched the pilot of the Fw 190 had to use a joystick to steer the rocket onto its target, at the same time as flying his aircraft.

The first test firings were carried out at Tarnewitz on the Baltic on 11 August 1944, using Fw 190 V69 (a converted F-8). V70 and three F-8s were also involved in the tests. It soon became clear that the rockets needed a dedicated crewman to control them, and so work moved onto the Ju 88. Over 1,000 X-4 rockets were built, but their BMW 109-548 liquid fuelled rockets were destroyed in a bombing raid on BMW’s Stargard factory.

Rheinmetall-Borsig RZ 65 Föhn Rocket

The RZ 65 was a solid fuel unguided rocket. It was fired from short tubes that could be carried below an aircraft wings, or built into then. Fw 190 V69 was used to test out the wing mounted version, with three carried outside the undercarriage on each wing. The type never entered service.

SG 113 Förstersonde (Forest Probe)

The SG 113 was a very unusual looking anti-tank weapon. It involved fitting two vertical pylons that passed through the wings. Each carried a single tube carrying a 45mm discarding sabot shell firing down at 650m/ second and a 12kg counterweight that fired up at 125m/ second to counter the recoil forces. Once the weapon had been activated it was automatically fired by a magnetic sensor if it passed over a large metal target. Tests were carried out using Fw 190 V75 and two Fw 190F-8s. The weapon was capable of penetrating the weaker upper armour of most tanks, but the resulting explosion posed a serious risk to the aircraft.

SG 116 Zellendusche (Airframe Shower)

The SG 116 was a similar idea for an automatically fired weapon, but this time aimed at bombers. A series of vertical tubes were carried in the fuselage, each armed with one Mk 103 30mm shell. The Fw 190 would fly below the target and a photo-electric cell would fire the guns when a shadow fell across it. The weapon was tested using a Fw 190F-8 but was a failure.

SG 117 Rohrblock (Tube Block)

The SG 117 was similar to the SG 116, but with seven tubes in a cluster and carrying 30mm Mk 108 shells. Two SG 117s were to be carried behind the cockpit, for a total of fourteen shells. The type was tested on Fw 190 V74.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 June 2019), Focke-Wulf Fw 190 – Design and Prototypes , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_focke-wulf_Fw_190_design.html

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