Henschel Hs 130

The Henschel Hs 130 was a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft developed from the experimental Hs 128. This was a twin-engined monoplane with a pressurized cabin, developed for high-altitude research, and that made its maiden flight in 1939. The Hs 128 attracted the attention of Theodor Rowehl, commander of AufklGr Ob.d.L, the Luftwaffe' High Command's reconnaissance unit, and he convinced the RLM to order Henschel to develop a military version of the aircraft. This venture would produce a number of prototypes for different versions of the aircraft, but none would enter production

Hs 130A

The Hs 130A was a twin-engined mid-wing monoplane, with a retractable undercarriage. The pressurised cabin was similar to that of the Hs 128, with very small cockpit windows. The Hs 130 had a wingspan of 72ft 6in, thirteen feet shorter than that of the Hs 128. Three prototypes were built, all of which made their maiden flights during 1940.

The V1 was powered by two 1,100hp Daimler Benz DB 601R engines, with three-blade propellers and GM-1 nitrous oxide power boost. When using the GM-1 boost it was able to reach 43,309ft. The V2 and V3 were similar to the V1, but with four bladed propellers.

The prototypes were followed by seven pre-production aircraft. The first five, A-01 to A-05, had their wingspan increased to 83ft 8in. Early in 1941 they underwent flight tests, which revealed some problems with performance and with the engines.

The next two aircraft, the A-06 and A-07 (or A-0/U6 and U7) had their wingspan increased to 95ft 1 ¾ in. They were powered by two 1,475hp Daimler Benz DB 605 engines with Hirth 9-2281 turbo-superchargers and GM-1 power boost. When carrying a crew of two these aircraft were able to reach 50,570ft, an altitude only beaten by one German piston engined aircraft, the Blohm und Voss Bv 155. Despite this impressive performance the Hs 130A wasn't considered suitable for military use, and no production orders were placed.

Hs 130B

The Hs 130B would have been a bomber version of the Hs 130A. It would have carried a 2,205lb bomb load,

Hs 130C

The Hs 130C was a greatly modified version of the aircraft designed for the 'Bomber B' competition (alongside the Junkers Ju 288, Focke-Wulf Fw 191 and Dornier Do 317). The Hs 130C used a new pressurised cabin that could carry a crew of four. It was armed with three remotely controlled barbettes, two armed with 13mm MG 131 machine-guns (above and below the cabin) and one in the tail armed with a 7.9mm MG 15. He Hs 130C could carry up to 4,410lb of bombs, and had the space to carry a single SC 1800 bomb or two LT F5b torpedoes.

Three prototypes were completed. The V1 and V2 were originally powered by two 1,600hp BMW 810A radial engines, while the V3 used the 1,750hp Daimler Benz DB 603A. The V2 was later given two 1,810hp BMW 801Tj radial engines, with turbo-superchargers.

The V3 was the only version built with the defensive armament, and would have been the precursor for 100 production C-1s that the German Air Ministry considered ordering in the summer of 1943, but this came to nothing when the entire Bomber B competition was scraped.

Hs 130D

The Hs 130D was to have used DB 605 engines and a two-stage supercharger system being developed by DVL and Argus. This was a particularly complex system, and was soon abandoned.

Hs 130E

The Hs 130E was the version that came closest to entering production. Instead of using a normal turbocharger or supercharger this version of the aircraft was to use the Höhen-Zentrale Anlage system, which involved installing an entire aircraft engine in the fuselage, which would power a turbo-blower that would provide high pressure air to the main engines on the wings. On the Hs 130E the internal engine was a 1,475hp Daimler Benz DB 605T, while the main engines were 1,750hp Daimler Benz DB 604Bs.

The extra engine forced Henschel to increase the length of the fuselage to restore the aircraft's centre of gravity. They also installed a longer wing, with a span of 108ft 3 ¼ in.

The V1 made its maiden flight in September 1942, without the HZ-Anlage system. The V2 followed in November, also without the HZ-Anlage, but once it was installed the aircraft were able to climb up to 49,200ft. The V2 was lost after an engine fire on its seventh test flight, and was replaced with the V3.

In the spring of 1943 the RLM (German Air Ministry) placed an order for 100 production E-1 aircraft. This was to carry defensive armament and 3,968lb of bombs under the wings. Seven pre-production aircraft were built, and the first made its maiden flight in May 1943, but the HZ-Anlage system was proving unreliable. The production order was reduced to 30 aircraft, and then soon after that scrapped completely. 

Hs 130F

The Hs 130F would have been powered by four engines, either BMW 801TJ radials or Daimler-Benz DB 603 engines with Hirth turbo-superchargers. No aircraft were built.

Engine: Daimler Benz DB 605 engine with Hirth 9-2281 turbo-chargers plus GM1 power boost
Power: 1,860hp
Crew: 3
Wing span: 95ft 1 ¾ in
Length: 49ft 0 ½ in
Height: 16ft 1in
Fully loaded weight: 27,750lb
Max Speed: 292mph

Engine: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603B 12-cylinder engines
Supercharger: DB 605T mounted internally
Power: 1,750hp at take-off and 1,440hp at 45,000ft
Crew: 3
Wing span: 108ft 3 ¼ in
Length: 72ft 2in
Height: 18ft 4 ½ in
Empty Weight: 26,901lb
Normal Loaded Weight: 36,700lb
Maximum Loaded Weight: 39,900lb
Max Speed: 379mph
Cruising Speed: 320mph at 39,370ft
Service Ceiling: 49,500ft
Range: 1,860 miles with drop tanks

Aircraft of the Luftwaffe 1935-1945, Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage. Combines a good background history of the Luftwaffe with a comprehensive examination of its aircraft, from the biplanes of the mid 1930s to the main wartime aircraft and on to the seemingly unending range of experimental designs that wasted so much effort towards the end of the war. A useful general guide that provides an impressively wide range of information on almost every element of the Luftwaffe (Read Full Review)
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 December 2009), Henschel Hs 130 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_henschel_hs_130.html

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