He 112 Development Potential

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by SpicyJuan11, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    #1 SpicyJuan11, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
    Hello everyone, we've had many discussions in the past regarding the development potential of various aircraft such as the He 100 or Fw 187, but what about the He 112B? Did it have much room to grow? Would it have to be replaced sooner (dare I say by the He 100) or later (He 280)?
     
  2. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    I do believe the Romanians used that plane...
     
  3. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    That's correct, but I'm asking how or if the He 112 could be developed further into the 40's (so basically the LW picks the 112 over the 109).
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #4 GregP, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
    Some of the versions of the He 112 were almost completely different from one another. So I can't see how it's development potential could be questioned. First you'd have to have a difinitive type.

    This He-112:
    25-4-2003-9-0-heinkel_he-112_earlier_(17).jpg

    Doesn't look much like this one:
    239b54b10cadcc48db5858c4e0051f66.jpg

    I think it had potential and, had it been selected, I have no doubt it could have been competitive with other fighters well into the war. Might have had to go with a thinner wing to get a lot faster ... don't know since it wasn't developed and I haven't put in a lot of He 112 aerodynamics investigation time. But if they can make a whole new fuselage, why not a whole new wing with an inherently faster airfoil? I certainly like the canopy and landing gear better than the one on any standard Messerschmitt Bf 109.
     
  5. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    Were any prototypes equipped with the DB 601? Also, why waste so many developmental resources on further enhancing the 112, when you have the 100?
     
  6. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The most insurmountable problem (including with export buyers) was the high cost of the aircraft. Heinkel also wanted to use a wooden wing in it that the RLM rejected, but I don't know if that would have helped much in the cost area (most of the cost was related to complexity of construction, not materials).

    Starting over with a new aircraft while advancing on the experience gained from the He 112 would have made the most sense. This was supposed to have happened with the He 100, but it seems Heinkel put far too much interest into developing a record breaking high speed aircraft than a cost-effective, rational fighter design. Had it been a bit more conservative and less tight and limited in its design, the He 100 might have been an potent, cost effective replacement for the Bf 109. (things like hedging their bets with completely conventional cooling systems used from the start -alongside experimental surface cooling- would have been the most significant detail, planning for alternate Jumo 211 installations would have been useful too)

    Retaining the good cockpit visibility, handling, and general aerodynamic characteristics of the He 112 and improving upon them would have been important too, probably more so than raw speed. Trying again with the wooden wing idea probably wouldn't have hurt either, at least experimentally.
     
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  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Not going to happen. Me-109 performed just fine and was inexpensive to mass produce.

    He-112 would be competing against Germany's second iron in the fire (i.e. Fw-190). He-112B is ok but IMO Fw-190 was better.
     
  8. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    Honestly that's an unfair comparison. The He 112B flew 2 years earlier than the He 100 and 3 years earlier than the Fw 190. It makes much more sense to compare the Fw 190 with the He 100.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Fw-190 airframe was around early enough to compare with He112B. It was RLM insistence on BMW801 radial engine which delayed the program. The same RLM determination to use BMW801 engine would probably doom the He-112B. In order to compete Heinkel would need to design an airframe around the new engine.
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The question was about potential. Had the He 112 been developed, it could have been a good fighter. Whether or not it could have been made cost-competitive is another question and I doubt it, but it certainly could have been made into a decent fighter for the time.

    I do not know if it had the potential to still be competitive in 1945, but it could have been a good fighter in 1939 - 1941 for sure. It was almost certainly as good or better than the Hurricane, albeit in need of a better engine as-flown. The Hurricane might not have been all that great with a lesser engine than a Merlin, either. Perhaps the He 112 needed a DB 601 series engine to "wake up."
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Only other choice was Jumo 211 as it replaced Jumo 210 engine production during 1938.

    Design He-112 around an air cooled radial and you essentially get an entirely different aircraft.
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The Bf 109 certainly successfully made the tansition from Jumo to DB. Why not the He 112?

    It IS unlikely given the cost difference, but it could have been done. I'm zeroing in on the original question about the development potential. I still think it HAD potential, but am NOT sure when the supply of DB 601s would have been sufficient for the Germans to release some for use in developed He 112s.

    The development might be tied to surplus DB 601s that could have been used. In that case, time might have already marched past the point where the DB engine would have give the developed He 112 airframe sufficient useful performance to warrant the effort.

    So development, while possible, might never have been practical from an engine availability standpoint. Still, they found sufficient engines for Bf 110's, so maybe there was some potential there.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Not under historical circumstances. Initially RLM funded DB601 engine production at less then 50% of original plan. Hence engine was in short supply even for Me-109 and Me-110.

    Provide DB601 engine with full funding from 1936 onward and it opens up all sorts of possibilities such as Fw-187 and DB601 powered Fw-190.
     
  14. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #14 GregP, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
    "What ifs" can be interesting since nothing is impossible.

    If you are correct, Dave, then I'm sure the He 112 could have been developed into an effective fighter. Who knows, it might have had the range the Messerschmitt lacked.
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The limiting factor might be the wing. The HE 112 went through at least 3 different wings. I don't know what airfoil they wound up using on the last ones. It "looks" thick but that may be deceiving due to the long cord over most of the elliptical wing.

    One prototype with DB 601 engine was supposed to hit 354mph which is about the same as a Bf 109E with the same engine ( or a bit better?). The question is did the He 112 have enough stretch left to match the 109F without another major redo?
     
  16. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    Does anyone know what a DB 601 powered Fw 190 would've looked like? Were there any calculations done, or is this just a made up possibility by this board?
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty much made up by this board. The only thing the real Fw 190 and a DB 601 powered "version" would really have in common would be the name/designation.

    Fw might have had a few paper sketches of a DB powered fighter in the late 30s but the DB engines available at the time did not have enough power to meet Kurt Tanks goal of a more rugged fighter than the Bf 109. A more rugged/sturdier fighter being heavier.
     
  18. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #18 GregP, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
    Good question about the stretch potential of the He 112, Shortround. That one's hard to address due to lack of any data whatsoever. The Bf 109F, G, and K weren't really much faster than the E ... down low. They DID have some extra power and it probably did offer an incremental speed increase down low. But they got faster as they got higher as their engines were optimized for higher altitudes.

    Had the He 112 been developed ... we can presume it would have gotten or at least had access to the same engines. It's anybody's guess how much improvement was left in it. The closest planes to an He 112-type design were the Italian Fiat, Macchi, and Regianne "5-series" and, great handlers though they were, they weren't especially fast. But I'm also not sure they got the engines specifically set up for higher altitudes.

    It's some food for thought. I really haven't thought much about it because I've been thinking about the early version with a DB 601. It's easy to sit here and say the He 112 could be developed into a 480 mph fighter. It's quite another thing to go DO it with the technology and resources of the time. I'm sure it could have been developed ... the question is how far. I'm sure I don't know.

    I'm also not sure Willy Messerschmitt would have believed how fast a Bf 109K was going to be in the near future had he been asked about it in 1939. The war seems to have generated a never-ending parade of minor improvements that added up to substantially better-performaing aircraft with the same basic design.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The 109F with the DB 601N engine seems to be 15-20mph faster than a 109E (or T) using the same engine. Improvements in climb and turn are also quite noticeable if test figures are to be believed?

    Part of the problem with some "what ifs" is how far do you go. The HE 112 was extensively modified from the early versions to the B series. About all they kept was the Jumo 210 engine and a cockpit in the middle of the plane (OK the landing gear?). The Fuselage was stretched and changed in construction. The vertical and rudder were changed. A whole new shorter span and changed plane form wing. The new wing was not only much smaller in area it changed form a 2 spar construction to a "single" spar with "auxiliary" spars in front and back (3 spar wing?). All three spars appear in cut away drawings to connect to fuselage.
    A "similar" redo at some point in time after the B series could see the fuselage change in construction/size and another entirely new wing (keeping old landing gear?) eliminate any comprehensibility problems the old wing might have had.

    But it would still be a He 112 right? ;)

    It is one thing to do such major changes at the prototype stage when each plane is almost hand built and little or no production tooling exists. It is quite another thing to make such extensive changes when multiple production lines exist in factories hundreds of miles apart. The change can be made but it requires a much larger investment in time and money (and lost production) to do it.
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #20 GregP, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
    The Bf 109E-3 had a DB 601Aa that gave 1,175 HP at takeoff and 1,000 HP at 12,140 feet. Max speed at sea level was 290 mph. Max speed was 348 mph at 14,560 feet and initial rate of climb was 3,280 ft / min. Service ceiling was 34,450 ft.

    The Bf 109F-4 had a DB 601E with 1,332 HP. Max speed at sea level was 325 mph. Max speed at 19,680 feet was 376 mph. Service ceiling was 38,048 feet.

    If we take the E at 1,175 HP and do nothing but add the DB 601E engine with 1,350 HP, and drag doesn’t change, I’d expect the new top speed to be 304 mph at sea level. To get 325 mph, the frontal area had to decrease by some 18 percent. That’s a LOT, but believable since it happened.

    A telling parameter is the E’s top speed was at 14,560 feet and the F’s top speed was at 19,680 feet. That tells me the supercharger wasn’t the same or SOMETHING in the engine wasn’t the same since it’s best altitude went up by a third. At the E’s best altitude it made about 1,000 HP. At the F’s best altitude of 19,680 feet, the DB 601Aa made about 800 – 830 HP. The Bf 109F has to make 1030 HP one third higher to get 376 mph so, as I said above, a good deal of the extra performance came from engine improvements.

    If the E had done nothing but get the same engine, it would have had another almost 200 HP or so at 20,000 feet and the top speed would have been in the 365 mph range, which is only about 10 mph slower than an F. At the E’s best height of 12,140 feet, the F could go 356 mph instead of 348 mph, which isn’t all that big of a difference. But add up a few mph at the E’s best altitude and a significant amount more HP at 20,000 feet and it makes a pretty significant difference.

    If anyone wants to propose different numbers, hey ... go for it.

    I’m not making any wild claims here, I’m just proposing that the F’s engine made up a good deal of the speed difference between the E and the F. The aerodynamic cleanup helped, but so did the engine change. Hopefully there's nothing unusual about better-performing planes getting a bit of help from many difference small changes. I'm pretty sure there was some cleanup that could be done on the He 112, too, but I still don't propose to estimate how much. It is, after all, a paper airplane that didn't get produced.
     
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