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Focke-Wulf Ta 400

 

Focke-Wulf Ta 400

Ta 400
Role long range bomber
Manufacturer Focke-Wulf
Designer Kurt Tank
Primary user Luftwaffe
Number built incomplete prototype only

The Focke-Wulf Ta 400 was a large six-engined bomber design developed in Nazi Germany in 1943 by Focke-Wulf as a serious contender for the Amerika Bomber project. One of the first aircraft to be developed from components from multiple countries, it was also one of the most advanced Focke-Wulf designs of World War II, though it never progressed beyond a wind tunnel model.

Designed as a bomber and long-range reconnaissance plane by Kurt Tank, the Ta 400 had a shoulder-mounted wing with 4° dihedral. One of the most striking features was the six BMW 801D radial engines, to which two Jumo 004 jet engines were later added.

Design and development

In response to the RLM guidelines of 22 January 1942, Kurt Tank of the Focke-Wulf company designed the Ta 400 as a bomber and long-range reconnaissance aircraft to be powered by six BMW 801D radial engines, to which two Jumo 004 jet engines were later added. Design work was begun in 1943, much of it being carried out by French technicians working for Focke Wulf at Châtillon-sous-Bagneux near Paris, with contracts for design and construction of major components being awarded to German, French, and Italian companies in an attempt to speed the process and begin construction of prototypes as soon as possible.

The Ta 400 had a shoulder-mounted wing with 4° dihedral, with a long straight center section extending to the middle engine on each wing, and highly tapered outer wing panels. It had twin vertical stabilizers mounted at the tips of the tailplane. Like the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress the Ta 400 was to have a pressurized crew compartment and tail turret, connected by pressurized tunnel, as well as multiple remote-controlled turrets. The crew of nine was to be protected by a heavy defensive armament including ten 20 mm MG 151 cannons. Fuel supply was to have distributed across 32 fuel tanks. Another design feature was tricycle landing gear.

Maximum bomb load was to be 24 t (53,000 lb). With a gross weight of 80.27 tonnes (177,000 lb), the Ta 400 with DB 603 engines was estimated to have a range of 12,000 km (7,500 mi) in the reconnaissance role, cruising at 325 km/h (202 mph). The two bomber versions would have 76.07 tonnes (83.85 short tons) and 80.87 tonnes (89.14 short tons) gross weights with estimated ranges of 4,500 km (2,800 mi) and 10,600 km (6,600 mi) respectively. The projected Jumo-powered aircraft would have had a maximum range of 14,000 km (8,700 mi) for long range reconnaissance and 13,000 km (8,100 mi) as a bomber.[1]

As with the Heinkel He 277 competitor for the Amerika Bomber contract, no prototype of the Ta 400 was ever built, it never progressed beyond a wind tunnel model, and performance, range and dimensions are based solely on the designers' estimates. The master aircraft designer Ernst Heinkel himself remarked in October 1943, while both designs were still being worked on, thought that only the Ta 400 could be a worthy competitor to his firm's He 277 for the Amerika Bomber competition.[2]

The Ta 400 was essentially a backup design for the Messerschmitt Me 264. As the design required more materials and labor than the Me 264, the RLM became convinced that further development of the Ta 400 was a waste and on 15 October 1943, notified Focke-Wulf that the program would be terminated,[3] but the minutes of a meeting in Italy of Tank with Italian aviation industrialists on 18 April 1944 confirmed that the design was still active and proposed the cooperation of Italian industry in the project.[4]

Specifications (Ta 400, estimated)

Data from

General characteristics
  • Crew: 6
  • Length: 28.7 m (94 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 45.8 m (150 ft 3 in)
  • Gross weight: 60,000 kg (132,277 lb)
  • Powerplant: 6 × BMW 801D 14-cyl. air-cooled twin-row radial piston engines, 1,300 kW (1,700 hp) each
  • Powerplant: 2 × Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engines, 8.8 kN (2,000 lbf) thrust each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 635 km/h (395 mph; 343 kn)
  • Range: 9,000 km (5,592 mi; 4,860 nmi)
Armament
  • Guns: 10 × MG 151/20 in five twin turrets
  • Bombs: 22,046 lb (10,000 kg) total

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References

Notes
Bibliography
  • Griehl, Manfred. Luftwaffe over America. London: Greenhill Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7607-8697-0.
  • Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode. Luftwaffe Secret Projects: Strategic Bombers 1935-45. Earl Shilton, UK: Midland Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-85780-092-3.

External links

  • Complete specifications and three way blue prints.
  • German WW II Focke-Wulf Ta 400 design manual site registration required

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