Me-109F Airframe a dud. What replaces it?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Messerschmitt Bf 109 variants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Historically the new Me-109F airframe was a world beater. But what if it wasn't?

    Point of departure. Mid 1940.
    Me-109F airframe prototypes are experiencing all sorts of problems. Messerschmitt has no solution other then retaining Me-109E airframe in production and keep plugging away at Me-109F development.

    RLM is fed up. They have just expanded DB601 engine production and the DB601E prototype is showing real promise. If Messerschmitt cannot get the Me-109F right they will look for another fighter in which to install DB601E engines. There will be a competition for the fighter contract.

    Heinkel will submit He-112B variant powered by DB601E prototype.
    Heinkel will submit He-100 variant powered by DB601E prototype.
    Focke Wulf will submit Fw-190 variant powered by DB601E prototype.
    Other aircraft designs will considered. Including those from Italy and occupied France. All get DB601E engine.

    Competition will be held during January 1941. Mass production NLT January 1942. No time to develop an aircraft from scratch so we are looking at variants of existing designs.

    Which DB601E fighter airframe gets RLM contract ILO Me-109F?
     
  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I'd opt for the Macchi MC.202-baased airframe. The cooling system in the He-100D is very suspect and nobdy else used surface evaporative cooling in a fighter AFAIK. I don't think it would take rough handling in the field nearly so well as a radiator, but that's my opinion. The He 112 is sold, but underperforms with regard to the competition.

    Serious competition could come for the liquid-cooled Fw 190 derivative but, in real life, it wasn't around when the 109F was developed. The Me 109F came into wide use in the first half of 1941. and the Mc.202 was introduced into service at about the same time. The Fw 109D started production in 1944, so it basically isn't in the running since it wasn't around at the time.

    I like the VL Pyorremyrsky but it didn't fly until 1945.

    The Macchi is the best of the real competition, given failure of the Bf 109F ... unless you envision the Japanese sending a Ki-61 to Germany to be re-engined with the DB. It first flew in late 1941, and so is reasonably within the ballpark. Given the several-month delay that would be invariably encountered, I'd say the Macchi wins it, but the DB version of the Ki-61 sounds very interesting to me.
     
  3. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Give everything to the Fw 190 and use the DB601 engines on the true "four" engined He-177. :)
     
  4. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    The Kawasaki Ha-40 powering the Ki-61 was a licensed built DB601 so I see no problem using a DB engine in a German version of the Ki-61.

    The He100D-1 got rid of the evaporation system used on the He100D-0 and used a radiator.
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Yah Milosh, I don't see any problem with the DB in the Ki-61 either, and I'd go with a VDM prop. too ... but they could have the Macchi's flying six months earlier. But there's nothing wrong with the Ki-61.

    I also think the He 100 had the same issue as the Bf 109. It was a very small airframe, not reeally suited to years of development. If they had gone with it, it would have probably been obsolescent as soon as the Bf 109 was. By 1944, it would have needed replacement. Of course, that' the was I see it. Others may think differently.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Macchi C.202 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    RLM would never approve an airframe as expensive to mass produce as the historical Macchi C.202. Could production cost be significantly reduced with 6 months of redesign effort without ruining performance? Some redesign would be necessary anyway for German weapons, radios, self sealing fuel tanks etc.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #7 GregP, Mar 28, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
    Here's another example of Wiki being full of crap. There is no way the MC .202 took 22,000+ man hours to build. If I didn't work on old fighters almost every weekend I might buy it. But I do and I don't buy it.

    The Italians built about 1,000 of them plus about 1,500 MC.205's and they would never have done that at 22,000 hours per unit. The one in the National Air and Space Museum is simply not that exotic ... at least the one I saw. It looks entirely conventional in construction. Go look at a cutaway. Nothing unusual about it.
     
  8. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    You forget Greg that the Italians were not very efficient. It also depends on what is included in those 22,000 hours. For final assembly, be sure 22,000 hours is too much.
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #9 GregP, Mar 28, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
    You might be right, Milosh. If so, then it is no wonder they had trouble keeping a government in place.
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    If the failure of the Bf109f caused the RLM to look at other options, then perhaps this would accelerate the Fw190d's development...and ultimately bringing the Ta152 into production sooner...
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Fw-190D requires DB603 or Jumo 213 engine. I doubt Jumo 213 can develop any faster and RLM did their best to prevent DB603 from being produced. So this doesn't sound likely. However nothing prevents a Fw-190 variant powered by DB601E and (later) DB605 engines.

    Focke-Wulf Fw 190 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Switching to BMW801 engine forced Fw-190 airframe to become larger and heavier. Use of DB601E would allow Fw-190 to lose weight and the smaller engine would allow nose to be more streamlined. Don't know how that would work out performance wise but I suspect DB601E powered Fw-190 would be as good or better then early model Fw-190A powered by 1,539hp BMW801 engine. You can have a hub cannon too which is certainly a desirable feature for WWII fighter aircraft. Perhaps the two Fw-190 outboard cannon positions would be deleted.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    While the comparison of the manhours it took to build a plane is interesting it is rather flawed. Not all countries or companies used the same accounting procedures or time charts. The other thing is we don't know what the infrastructure was like in the various factories.
    To pick on the Italians; Antonio is told to make an aluminium panel XX long and YY wide and curved "lika so". He takes the panel out in back with a couple of wooden mallets to a well worn tree stump and starts beating on it. He brings it back in periodically to check the fit. After a number of hours he hands it to his boss and it fits just about perfect with scarcely a ripple or dent to be seen. Boss hands him another panel and says "very good, do it again".

    In America Tony is told they need 100 panels XX long yy wide with a curve in them Part number XXXYYY12. Tony goes over to a wacking big Hydraulic press, spends a couple of hours fitting the appropriate dies into the press. gets a fork lift to bring over a stack of raw panels/sheets. Turns on the press and starts feeding the sheets in and taking the right sized curved panels out. Checking periodically that all is well. He finishes by getting the forklift back to take the stack/s of finished panels to inspection.

    A bit of an exaggeration and I hope I didn't insult anybody but the amount of tooling, jigs, fixtures and machinery can make a big difference in the number of man hours it takes to build something. And as production moves along sometimes people come up with a new way of doing things (or a new jig/fixture) that knocks hours of a certain procedure.
     
  13. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    He 100 D-1 had "normal" cooling system albeit with a retractable radiator. It's the obvious choice, a tad faster than the Bf 109 F and slightly more range.
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Granted the Fw190D had the DB603 in the historical timeline, however, in this hypothetical timeline, the Bf109F's failure forced an earlier upfitting in the Fw190 with an inverted V12...then for all intents and purposes, the "D" was born regardless of the series of the Daimler-Benz engine. Right? :)
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Technically I think the idea is fine. However I don't see it happening in this scenerio if other options are available.

    BMW801 powered Fw-190A is well along in development and will enter production during 1941. If Focke Wulf also produces a lightweight version powered by DB601E engine then all of Germany's fighter airframes come from the same basket. If Fw-190 airframe development hits a snag then Germany is back to square 1 with a single fighter airframe that has problems.

    IMO RLM will want a different airframe manufactured by someone other then Focke Wulf.
     
  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #16 GregP, Mar 29, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
    In the timeline comtemplated the Fw 190 radial version is still being ironed out. I don't think they had the manpower to develop both the radial Fw 190 and the proposed DB 601E Fw 190 simultaneously. This being a "what if," maybe they could get help from someone, but I doubt it in real life.

    As to the tooling Shortround, I would think the hand-made style is fine for a prototype or two, but I don't believe anyone would do that for 1,000 planes. I'm currently working on a Bell YP-59A Airacoment, America's first jet, restoring it to flight status. They only made 66 of them and ours, the 10th airframe and 7th YP-59A (they made 3 XP-59A's), is the last "hand made" of the series. So Bell made 10 hand-made units before going to production tooling, and that was because of the top secret nature of the project. Nobody was supposed to know they were working on a jet. The net result for us is we can't make a mirror image of some part on the right for the left because it was "hand made," and the holes and shape are not quite exactly the same.

    I have looked into other manufacturers (admittedly none were Italian) and have determined that most serially-produced WWII fighter aircraft had anywhere from 3 to 15 hand made aircraft before switching to production jigs. Some manufacturers who had great faith in their aircraft even went so far as to produce the prototype on jigs in anticipation og production orders. The Boeing B-29 comes to mind there. It went into production with little or no changes, the main issue being the engines.

    I know Italians are excellent at hand finish work, but I can't see anyone sticking with hand made for 1,000 planes in the late 1930's.

    Still, I won't argue the point too hard except to say that if the Germans had decided to produce the MC.202, it would not have taken too much longer than the Bf 109. It might have taken longer, but not 10 times longer. Also, if the Bf 109F had failed, then they would have to select an alternative or do without, so SOMETHING had to be chosen that is not going to be a Bf 109. As far as I know, none of the other German fighters being produced or being comtemplated could be completed in as little time as the Bf 109 either, so a longer production time was in the cards anyway.

    As for welded bracing, that goes quickly when done on jigs. They could also have adapted existing landing gear to fit and changed other things as well, like the open spaces between the canopy and the hump behind the canopy that appear in the photos to be unsealed.

    I have at least 5 books that describe the MC.202 effort (3 of them call it the Macchi series: Mc.200 - 202 - 205), and none mention production issues that get into 22,000+ hours difficulties. If a fighter took that long, it surely would have made the history of the type, being so expensive to build. To me, that would spell the end of the program and I'd opt not to continue.

    But I'm also not the person trying to procure a fighter for the Italian Air Force and you guys might be right.

    Hey, FlyboyJ ... any thoughts on a 22,000+ hours WWII fighter? Half the war could over before it flew!
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Aren't you all jumping the gun a bit,leaping forward to an inline powered Fw 190 D? I think we need to check some timelines here!
    In January 1941 one of the first Fw 190 A-0s (W.Nr.0007) became the first the first production Fw 190 A-1 fitted with a BMW 801 C-1 engine. A special experimental squadron was set up at Rechlin-Roggenthin in March 1941 to introduce the Fw 190 A into operational service,yet two months earlier you are suggesting developing the type,completely unproven,with a different engine. This would introduce a lag of months (maybe more with the RLM's record) during which the Luftwaffe would be left badly exposed against the Spitfire V and IX,if the RAF now bothered with the latter.
    The Fw 190 D was a development of the A (historically as a stop gap to the Ta 152). How can you develop an aircraft that is itself undeveloped and which hasn't even started the process of being broken in to operational service?
    I'm not buying it. In my opinion it is not an option in the short term.

    The options facing the RLM in this hypothetical scenario were to take a chance on the Heinkel fighter,hope Messerschmitt could come up with a more competitive aircraft and,in the mean time,invest more resources in producing the Fw 190 A. The Bf109 E is going to have to soldier on for some time,it didn't suddenly become a bad aeroplane in 1941. The Fw 190 A is left as the only fighter that is going to be really competitive with the RAF in 1941,you might get a different engined type (call it a D if you like) into service in 1942.

    In the 1930s the British Air Ministry had continued to support the Gloster F7/30 in case the designs that were to become the Spitfire and Hurricane did not live up to expectations. I don't no whether the RLM had men like Sorley and Verney in its employ,if it did it didn't listen to them and had no fall back plan.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Arsenal VG-33 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    arsenal_vg-33-s.gif

    How about this airframe? Germany apparently captured the factory plus some completed airframes which could be used for testing. Replace HS.12Y with more powerful DB601E engine and you might have a decent fighter aircraft.
     
  19. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    No, the RLM had the likes of Udet where everything was required to be capable of dive-bombing and needed propellors to even be considered (reference to the early jet program)
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Early Fw-190A had all sorts of technical problems and was only produced in small numbers during 1941. IMO it's quite a stretch to call it superior to Me-109F.

    In any case RAF Fighter Command was little more then a nuisance during 1941. Most of the Luftwaffe was in the east or fighting U.S. provided P-40s in North Africa. Me-109E airframe with DB601E engine can hold the line until 1942.

    During 1942 Fw-190A will be available in greater numbers and with more reliable engines. A DB605 powered fighter aircraft superior to Me-109E should also be in production.
     
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