Hitler's Stealth Fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Colin1, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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  2. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    #2 Gixxerman, Oct 23, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
    It's an interesting show but they seem to have missed the fact that it was already known that Germany was not only a pioneer of radar but was also a pioneer of 'stealth' tech.

    Radar absorbing matting was applied to U-boat snorkels, so it was clearly a phenomenon they were aware of.
    The show makes such a big deal about whether or not the Germans knew anything about 'stealth' when it's not exactly difficult to see they did.

    I suspect there's a degree of dumbing down for the audience but the parochial nature of the narrative, as if radar and stealth were American......or at least imply all the good advanced stuff is American even if the Brits and Germans had a primitive understanding of it.
    Reminds me of the story of the MBB Lampyridae1 (and how USAF personnel visiting MBB were shocked to discover physics isn't the property of any one nationality).

    One thing I was hoping to see something of (but which the show made no mention of) was the RAM (radar absorbent material) supposedly used on the original Horten aircraft.
    Some sort of carbon impregnation is said to have been used/planned.
    Unfortunately that got missed by the program entirely.
    I would like to have known its effectiveness.

    I found the replica they built a bit unsatisfactory too.
    There were no undercarriage doors, panel join lines, access panels and no pitot tubes or radio aerials, both of which are supposed to be (like the open jet engines and cockpit) places where a strong radar return would be created.

    Sadly I find a lot of the techy historic WW2 TV shows lacking.
    They had the Lockheed L133 'Planes that Never Flew' on today earlier and that had silly errors like how the Americans planned an afterburner for it's intended jet engine years before it actually appeared in the 1950s.
    I happen to know the Jumo 004 had an afterburning version (not sure if it was planned or actually tested at all).

    I can get the idea of that sort of error in a show intended for general TV but when it's meant for a narror interest surely they can do better than just rehash old info, inappropriate or incorrect pictures film and misinformation?

    Anyhoo, rant over.
    I'll get me coat. :oops:
     
  3. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Must admit
    I was braced for the worst which I guess allowed me to be pleasantly surprised - it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Your point about panel lines, u/c doors and pitot tubes was a major sticking point with me too.

    No idea why they were working to a deadline.

    I didn't know anything about the Germans' advances in RAM, so that point was mercifully not inflicted upon me for the duration of the programme.

    I think I took away a reasonable approximation of what it was capable of.
     
  4. tail end charlie

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    I only saw the last 30 minutes and was dissapointed why does every subject have to be dumbed down. Showing this "stealth" fighter changing the war by intercepting B17s was the limit, was it less visible than an Me262? I couldnt see how it was any better in real terms than a 262 and in any case it didnt fly, the British were playing with flying wings at the same time (I am sure everyone was).

    I am sure the true story is interesting but to pretend it could be a game changer is a joke.
     
  5. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    Well quite.
    The 262 was probably easier to learn to fly (had 2 seater versions built, just) and had a margin over the piston engined planes more than sufficient to be just as effective.

    It did.
    But first 2 prototypes were lost in crashes, but not before the performance was seen to be impressive.
    It's the 3rd unflown complete prototype that the Americans took away and have in mothballs.

    I have read that Horten wings were tricky to fly so how Germany's dwindling pool of fliers would have coped is anyone's guess.
    Perhaps like the Heinkel He 162 they might have been a delight to fly......so long as you weren't a barely trained complete novice.

    Yeah but somehow whether it's British jet engines, flying wings or whatever it's just considered less glam.
    The fact that the allies tended to concentrate on a few types and not scatter resources on an enormous variety of ideas I suppose lends itself to that attitude.

    Undoubtedly had the wing been a stunning success then the allies would have responded with their own designs, just as jets were happening at more or less the same time too.

    If the Royal Observer Corps had a good day had seen them in time (even if only for a few minutes) I hate to think what allied flak (with proximity fuses) on the coast would have done to that CGI idea of them screaming in low.

    Exactly.
    I don't know what it is but for some reason people get attracted and a little frisson out of the 'coulda/woulda' idea of many German experimental projects.
    Strange because in many ways the war-winning allied approach is one that proves a focused operational set of systems with fully developed support, training, tactics and implementation in the field trump any unfocused 'back of the envelope' undeveloped, if advanced, planning.
    I guess thats just too boring for many.

    The only serious 'war changer' I could ever imagine (as opposed to merely dragging the war out longer in a series of move/counter-moves) would have been if Germany had developed 'the bomb' first.
     
  6. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Good posts, I agree.

    I have to say that I have heard about the RAM on the Go 229 but I always thought it was post-war thinking. Were the Germans aware that the Go 229 had stealth characteristics? And if they did, was it after they had built it or were they already aware of it while designing it. And as such it would mean it was designed to be stealth. I have some scepsis about it all.

    Also interesting about the Go 229 is the counterdesign Gotha came up with: the P.60.
    It gives invaluable info on the Go 229 / Ho IX: AAF TRANSLATION NO.525 COMPARISONS OF THE 8-229 AND THE GO P-60 ALL-WING AIRPLANES

    Kris
     
  7. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    #7 Gixxerman, Oct 24, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
    I am fairly sure that they would have noticed that the 2 engined Mosquito was picked up on radar later than they might expect than their own Me110 for instance (so as well as all it's other fine attributes it had that going for it too!).
    I expect that would start people thinking about which design elements gave a lower radar signature and once wood was identified as a major design feature of the Mossie compared to their own all-metal Me110 I think it's logical that they would have begun to look into the idea.

    This site on the F22 says this about early radar low radar cross section
    (and it's news to me, re the Mossie and a deliberate attempt to lower its RCS - any bets on the History Channel et al never ever saying a word about this?) -

    "Design for low observability, and specifically for low radar cross section (RCS), began almost as soon as radar was invented. The predominantly wooden deHavilland Mosquito was one of the first aircraft to be designed with this capability in mind.

    Against World War II radar systems, that approach was fairly successful, but it would not be appropriate today. First, wood and, by extension, composite materials, are not transparent to radar, although they may be less reflective than metal; and second, the degree to which they are transparent merely amplifies the components that are normally hidden by the outer skin. These include engines, fuel, avionics packages, electrical and hydraulic circuits, and people."
    F-22 Stealth


    The Horten/Gotha wing was wooden skinned on a tubular steel frame with metal exhaust panels on the rear upper wing.
    Of course late war materials shortages sheer necessity is probably a much greater driver for more and more wooden components/complete airframes.

    Looking at the frontal aspect those 2 great big open intakes looking straight down the fan blades of the jet engines are certainly no 'stealthy' feature......but then again a later proposal to the basic design had the engines set back from being close to the leading edge of the wing.
    Maybe they knew?
    I don't suppose much could be done about the cockpit area return back then.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Allies had quite a variety of ideas and prototypes. they just don't get the hype that the German designs do.
    And perhaps their faults flaws are better documented.

    For American stuff see the XP-54, XP-55, XP-56 among others, like the North American FJ-1 Fury, a straight wing Sabre jet ordered in May of 1945. Bombers include the Northrop B-35 flying wing, contract signed before Pearl Harbor as was the first contract for the B-36. The Douglas XB-42 'Mix Master' is also an interesting 'what if"

    This doesn't even begin to cover Navy attack planes.

    I am sure there are some interesting British designs also.
     
  9. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    I am a fan of primary sources. So far any primary sources for either the Horten or the Mosquito being designed with 'stealth' in mind must have eluded me. For as far as I am concerned the Mosquito was built out of wood to consereve strategic materials and the Horten was a flying wing because, well, it was the Hortens' thing.
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  11. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    No. I browsed through that thread and it is about a possible link between the Horten and Northrop designs. And in the end about flying saucers ;)

    As to the Horten IX, I forgot to say that I did read that in certain manoeuvres - Dutch roll maybe? - the aircraft could become unstable and difficult for the pilot to control. So a flying wing would work well for a strategic bomber but not for an aircraft which needs to perform a lot of acrobatic manoeuvres. Until computurized fly by wire was developed. So F-117.

    About the stealth, in that link I gave, Gotha doesn't mention the stealth characteristics which make it clear to me that this was not an issue. The Gotha design moved the engines up and under the wing/fuselage but Gotha only reflects on the aerodynamical consequences, not on the effect of radar signature. Or maybe he deliberately left that out to promote his design?

    Kris
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    :evil4:
    As discussed, there is no evidence that any of the flying wing manufacturers of the era really knew that their design had the capability to reduce the effectiveness of radar. In the documentary about the Hortens, the model builders at Northrop mention the use of a graphite material within the wood structure of the aircraft. simple explanation of this is the need of a groundplane for static electricity that needed to be dissipated during a lightning strike, and also for common electrical grounds. If the Hortens really knew about steath technology, they could have done a few more simple fixes with the non radar absorbing materials they had that would have made their aircraft more effetive in reducing its radar signature. Nice to speculate, but in the end I think its pretty obvious that the wing builders of this era were looking for aerodynamic efficiency rater than stealth technology.
     
  13. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    #13 razor1uk, Oct 24, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
    From what I read postwise, it's scripted for stupids, looking back at the past with current thought/viewpoints to slap over bury the old truth in something to justify selling to a TV company to air. History or documentary channels must be compelled to be little more critical of their suppliers.
    Next they'll be saying they've found away of using the scattered radar/radioelectric energy to help power the RCS reducing Plasma/Ionisation field, that was secretly convieved in the Crimean War, lab tested in 1930's Marsh Arab War developed in Vietnam only just being tried on some prototypes now (or the 'Dreamland' B-2 Spirit) LOL.
     
  14. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    And also the Ho IX was meant as a day fighter, not much point in deceiving radar. Bombers and night fighters would benefit more.

    I have always had more interest in the Ho 18 bomber.

    And yes, the allied had some wonderful ideas as well. But would it be inaccurate to state that the Germans had the lead in aerodynamics?

    Kris
     
  15. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    More accurately
    it's scripted for ratings, like all interest groups we're not big enough to warrant a TV show aimed solely at us, we're too niche. The show wasn't bad, I liked the idea of investigating the stealth characteristics but in finally testing it, I couldn't help feeling that the stealth was accidental, simply inherent in flying wing design. As a layman, the reflection came back from more or less where I was expecting it to.

    Recall that the B-49 flying back in towards east coast radar was not detected until the 'plane was almost directly overhead, there was no exercise objective to discover the RCS of the B-49, they discovered that by accident.

    If they really were aiming for stealth, then 20% over conventional aircraft design is modest. The 20% plus the high speed would be what really killed CHL, reaction time would have disappeared and standing patrols, even if in the area, would not have been able to catch the raider.

    The science was good, the aeros were seeking to prove the soundness of the stealth theory or otherwise, the narrative grated a bit, it assumed the aircraft was designed as a stealth from the outset.
     
  16. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    btw, where does the word stealth come from? Was it already an English word before ww2?


    Kris
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  18. Old Wizard

    Old Wizard Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the Germans converted 7 [I believe] submarines to 'stealth' versions by using a double rubber coating with the inner one being perforated with holes that matched the sonar wave lenghth. They were never detected. The one that sank a few ships in the English channel supplying the D-Day invasion area was suspected, but never detected and was sunk later by mines set at submarine depths. Its wreck has been dived.
     
  19. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i saw a show on that not too long ago. there is a guy who i trying to find all the missing subs and identify known wrecks. i dont know so much as if they dove on it ( the one i saw anyways ) but rather sent an ROV down for pics. the channel would be a freaking graveyard of ships and ac. imagine all the ww2 ac sitting at the bottom....
     
  20. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    #20 Gixxerman, Oct 25, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
    You just reminded me of one of the interesting vodka ads on UK TV recently.
    It's a CGI film of all the old wrecks coming out of the sea and had a Lanc and Hurricane leaving the depts.

    Here-

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iXwzBvdrIY

    It would make restorations a lot easier more numerous! :lol:
     
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