2 Seat Fw-190 Night Fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    They made a two seat trainer version of the Fw-190A. Did anyone consider making this aircraft into a short range night fighter similiar in concept to the the two seat Me-262B? Might be a big improvement for Wild Boar units, rather then expecting a single pilot to fly, navigate at night and operate the radar simultaneously.
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...good point.
     
  3. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    As far as I know the antennae fitted to a couple of Fw-190A single seat night fighters wasn't radar perse but a receiver for the British 10cm air intercept transmitters fitted to Lancs, which operated just like a radio compass. They didn't have a radio-wavelength display to have to decipher but just a direction-finder guage mounted in the cockpit.
    Also on top of the two large fuselage fuel tanks already in the Fw-190A and no less than three standard radio sets, electrical control systems, the all weather/night operations package included another heavy radio set, an autopilot kit and improved heating/de-icing equipment throughout. The landing light fitted wouldn't have weighed much.

    These are of concern because the BMW801C/D have full throttle heights around 4500 metres and bombers cruise at good speed at 5000 metres and higher. At this height the BMW is starting to lose performance, by 6000 metres climbing or accelerating is a leisurely event, there was not even any ram-air to work with except for special modifications (which introduced drag issues and muted performance gains, but did raise throttle heights).

    It was an issue with the Me-110 nightfighters for example, which reportedly had a little trouble sometimes with intercept performance against good heavy bombers operating at altitude, due to the additional weight of night-fighter versions. I remember a good book written by an Me-110 night-fighter pilot who fought against the British heavies, it elaborately described how very hard it was to intercept the fast Lancs, it was along, slow and nail-biting stalking process. The introduction of shrage musik was very welcome for these types.

    If you were going to consider a full radar installation, the best choice would be the back-back tandem Uhu with twin DB-603 engines, they really starting rocking the kasbah at 6000 metres with fantastic acceleration and intercept performance at these heights and all the torque you'll ever need for as much special equipment as you want in a stable platform. Plus you want twin engines and a good fuel load in a night-interceptor, raises the odds on making it back to base in the dead of night back in the forties.

    The Me-262B night fighter I prefer to think of as a design concept rather than a preproduction series. It had the power to carry plenty of weight with terrific intercept performance, but engine reliability here. Perhaps later when German jets managed hundreds of hours and didn't burst into flames everytime someone said boo. A more conventional contemporary night-fighter could cop a bit of combat damage and keep flying at least. Piston engines were still a very necessary presence at this point in history I think.

    As for night-navigation German pilots had a well developed radio navigation system in place by 1943 so most Focke Wulf and later Me-109 versions had radio compasses and direction finders fitted in addition to other navigational equipment (calibrated-gyroscopic and magnetic compasses, plus the usual attitude/inertial indicators). The R-11 kit for Fw-190 models added autopilot and some specialised night equipment from low glare finishes to heating equipment and landing lights. You could really operate most Fw-190 and Me-109G from 1944 onwards in any visibility conditions in daylight, though really an R-11 equipped Fw-190 or Ta-152 was best for night operations as a single seater.

    I don't think any Allied day fighters were as well equipped in terms of navigational equipment except for navy models, which had pretty much the same stuff so you could have a chance of making back to a carrier at sea. The Smithsonian assessed a captured Ta-152H-1/R-11 as one of the best piston engine aircraft ever built not so much on the basis of its performance, but its performance being postwar contemporary yet with the sheer degree of pilot/navigational equipment fitted as standard, which was more comprehensive than most jets in the fifties. Much pilot equipment standardised in German production by 1945 didn't become commonplace in front line fighters until the sixties.

    Therefore I think Allied pilots had a harder time navigating at night without a specialised aircraft type because much of the equipment fitted standard to German planes wasn't present. British night mission reports tend to talk about astro-navigation and getting lost on depleting fuel supplies a fair bit. A whole squadron was lost once. Germans tended to mis-navigate because of signal confusion with the instruments rather, landing in England thinking it's France because the radio navigation equipment got confused by urban signal clutter.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the answer is no as the Fw 190 had full FuG 217 and later some FuG 218 radar set ups, no twin seaters were even talked of. Some of the earlier A-5's had twin underwing fuel tanks soon taken off due to lack of performance. Most Fw 190A versions were not R11's but should of been called N's for Neptun.

    the 262 B-1a/u1 was only a mere infant, Welter was not wil about the idea but knew to stay up with the bomber streams longer that a full fledged radar equipped bird with extra fuel and radar operator had to be initiated. Remember gents the 262 was created to chase Mossies and not 4-engine jobs
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why not? It seems an obvious and inexpensive solution to an immediate problem. I would not expect a full radar installation. More like what the Wild Boars had historically.

    If this works then you might see a limited production follow-on purpose built Fw-190 derived night fighter. DB603 engine (better high altitude performance) and fuselage stretched a bit, to provide room for more fuel and equipment.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    sorry but the Fw 190A could not fill the bill the Wild Sau was going by the way side, as I said the Fw 190A-5 to A-8 was fully radar equipped. the Fw 190 was too slow and hampered by the heavy radar set and just too many nasty accidents at night which was chief cause why JG 300 went over to day light operations, and of course they were needed in this role along with NF JG 301 as well. JG 300 chaps flying at night and wishing to stay at this capacity were transferred over at the whim of ace Kurt Welter to single seat 262's after a very thorough bout of night time flying school
     
  7. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #7 vanir, Mar 6, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
    The thread is more advanced than I thought, I only come here now and again.

    I thought the Neptun was just a directional receiver for ~187MHz, not a transmitter requiring signal interpretation. I'm certain I've read an account of so equipped Fw-190 using the Lanc's radar emissions for homing and it would make far more sense. I guess I should've looked up some specifications before speaking.



    edit. okay I've been trying to picture how on earth that antennae array could possibly provide any useful foward echo and came up with only this, unless someone can better explain how the Neptun works in physics. You transmit a low-medium signal on the enemy AI frequency, your antennae array has a higher sensitivity to the sides than your own masking. Hence the pilot flies along, you are never going to get a signal from the front with the transmitter operating but when approaching enemy AI equipped bombers, you pick up their transmissions from the sides or above. Then you just keep changing direction until there is no signal again and you'll be on a direct intercept heading.
    I just can't see how in physics the antennae array of the Neptun could pick up a traditional signal echo on the frontal facing for interpretation, which would be a far more complicated and high powered system to use in any case.

    I'm only speculating, but logic dictates. Does someone have any links to detailed working of the Neptun? I'm curious now.
     
  8. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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  9. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    Those links describe Lichtenstein radar but not the Neptun in which I'm interested in because of the directional antennae. My problem is that I can't see how the Neptun could receive an echo from the front facing with a linear array aligned longitudinally, where a full echo signal interpretation would be unsound in a single seat aircraft anyway. The antennae of the Neptun would only pick up signals effectively to the sides or above, hence my presumption that it is a directional system, that and an account of pilots using Neptun homing in on bomber radar signals for interception.

    I don't think there was a radar screen perse in a Neptun equipped craft, it would only be a directional indicator working like a radio compass, where "north" is the bomber and this is found by signal masking rather than echo location by active pilot signal interpretation on a tube-screen.

    This would make for a marked difference to the premise of the thread OP.
     
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