Heinkel He 162 Salamander (Volksjäger).
Type: German Luftwaffe jet fighter and interceptor.
One of the most rapidly conceived warplanes ever produced, the He 162 home defense fighter existed as a wooden mock-up within 15 days of the issue, on 8 September 1944, of the RLM requirement. Seven days later a huge production contract was placed; detail design drawings were completed by the end of October; and on 6 December 1944 – less than 13 weeks from initiation of the program – the He 162 V1 (or A-01) made its first flight. Dubbed, for propaganda purposes, the Volksjaeger (People’s Fighter), the He 162 was of attractive if unorthodox appearance and was built largely of wood and other non-strategic materials.
Its looks, however, belied a dangerous instability and some vicious handling characteristics, and troubles were also encountered (as in the Focke-Wulf Ta154) with the wood-bonding adhesive used. Under the high priority given to fighter programs in 1944-45, manufacture of the He 162, under the code name Salamander, was assigned to numerous factories. It was planned to produce 2,000 a month by May 1945 and 4,000 a month ultimately, and about 800 were in various stages of assembly when the war in Europe ended. A further 280 or so He 162 A-0s, A-1s and A-2s had actually been completed. These differed primarily in their armament, the A-1 having two 30 mm MK 108 cannon in the lower forward fuselage and the A-2 a pair of 20 mm MG151s.
The first Luftwaffe unit to fly the He 162A was Erprobungskommando 162, which began to receive these aircraft in January 1945; but the first operational units, I. and II./JG I, were still working up at the beginning of May. Consequently, very few He l62s were actually encountered in combat. I./JG I was operational at Leck, though nearly without fuel. But it managed to shot down two Allied planes at the end of April, one of them a Hawker Tempest.
Proposed later versions included He 162A sub-types up to A-14, the He 162B (one or two pulse-jet engines), the He 162C (swept-forward wings), the He 162D (sweptback wings), and models with combined jet and rocket propulsion.
Users: Germany (Luftwaffe).
Animated 3D model of Heinkel He 162 Salamander
Specifications for Heinkel He 162 A-2 Salamander (Volksjaeger)
|Type||jet fighter, interceptor|
|Power plant||one 1,764 lb thrust BMW 003E-1 or E-2 Orkan single-shaft turbojet|
|Wing span||23 ft 7.5 in|
|Length overall||29 ft 8.3 in|
|Height overall||8 ft 6.4 in|
|Wing area||120.13 sq/ft|
|Weight empty||3,876 lb|
|Weight loaded||6,184 lb|
|Max. wing loading||51.48 lb/sq ft|
|Max. power loading||3.51 lb/lb st|
|Maximum speed||562 mph at 19,685 ft (490 mph at sea level)|
|Initial climb||4,613 ft/min|
|Service ceiling||39,500 ft|
|Range||434 miles (at full throttle)|
|Heinkel He 162 A-2 Salamander (Volksjaeger)||Specification|
|forward||2 x 20mm Mauser MG151/20 (720 rpm, velocity 1,920 ft/sec) with 120 rounds each|
|early He 162A-1 versions||2 x 30mm MK108 (650 rpm, velocity 1,705 ft/sec) cannon with 50 rounds each|
|Heinkel He 162 Salamander (Volksjaeger)||figures|
|First flight||6 December 1944|
|First delivery||January 1945|
|Final delivery||May 1945|
|Total production figure (all)||Total: 300 (+800 in factories, 2,000 a month by May, 4,000 a month from June 1945)|